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Office of Campus Life

August 2, 2019

Dear AU Students,

As you know, we have transitioned to a new student health insurance provider that offers students increased benefits along with a reduction in the cost of the premium. Provided by CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield, this coverage took effect on August 1, 2019.

We understand that some students have had difficulties using the CareFirst system – particularly around the waiver process. (Enrollment in the CareFirst-sponsored AU Student Health Insurance Plan insurance is automatic, and all students are covered by it unless they are approved for a waiver.)

CareFirst has issued a letter to the AU community on what they’re doing to resolve these challenges and what improvements have been implemented. Please read that letter, which is attached. It includes helpful resources.

When students run into problems, they tend to be around two main issues: problems using the CareFirst portal to request the waiver, and concerns over waivers being denied. We hear your frustration and will continue working with CareFirst to improve this process so that it goes smoothly and well for all.

We hope the following resources and information will help:

IF YOU HAVE PROBLEMS USING THE SITE

Call 844-898-3332. This is the number for the customer service team that CareFirst has dedicated to American University. PLEASE DO NOT CALL OTHER CUSTOMER SERVICE NUMBERS. You can reach this team Monday-Thursday 8 am-5 pm and Friday 10 am-5 pm EST.

When you call this number, it will initially take you through the general automated CareFirst menu. We understand this can be confusing – particularly as you will first be asked for a member ID (which, if you’re trying to register, you won’t yet have.) Say “representative” to get through this automated menu and be transferred to a dedicated team member. (You may need to repeat this several times.)

IF YOUR WAIVER REQUEST HAS BEEN DENIED

CareFirst has a dedicated email for questions about waiver requests that have been denied. This email is CDSHPSHP1e-mails@carefirst.com.

Make sure to include the following when emailing CareFirst: name, student ID, current insurer, proof of insurance (front and back of insurance card or complete policy in PDF format), type of policy, your call back number, and contact for person filing the appeal (if other than student).

Please know that when waivers are denied, it is because a student’s insurance coverage appears to be insufficient, based on the university’s policies. This mandatory health insurance policy has been in effect at AU for full-time students for over two decades. If a waiver has been denied but you believe you have comparable coverage, you can submit additional documentation so that your coverage can be confirmed.

The waiver process continues until September 20, 2019. Over 3,000 students have successfully requested and received waivers to date.

For more information, please see the letter from CareFirst to the AU Community (attached) and these earlier messages and links:

To Request a Waiver: Link to the CareFirst site (the first step to waiving is registering)

Announcement of Transition to CareFirst

What You Need to Know about the New Health Plan, including FAQs on the Waiver Process

For International Students: What You Need to Know

Sincerely,
Fanta Aw
Vice President of Campus Life & Inclusive Excellence
American University

Letter from CareFirst

August 1, 2019

Dear Au Community,

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield and BlueChoice, Inc. (CareFirst) wants you to know that we are committed to providing the American University students and community with the highest level of service possible.

We know there have been issues and challenges as we transition the coverage and want to assure you that we have made system and internal changes to overcome these challenges.

Currently, our team is diligently working to correct portal issues that impacted your ability to finalize your health care coverage waivers and improve our service response rate.

We are instituting the following improvements:

  • CareFirst has provided a dedicated email box to field your inquiries regarding the denial of your waiver request. Please email CDSHPSHP1e-mails@carefirst.com
  • CareFirst has expanded the dedicated customer service team specifically for American University to provide consistently accurate information regarding benefits and the support needed to resolve issues more quickly and effectively. Please call 844-898-3332 when you have questions.
  • We regret any inconvenience that we may have caused you. Please know that we are working to improve our service and support now and into the future. We value our partnership and we appreciate the opportunity to serve you.

Sincerely,
Tim Matthews
Vice President, Small SBU Sales and Support