Yale Health revises coverage

On Friday, Yale Health announced several shifts to its health insurance coverage intended partially as a move toward greater compliance with upcoming changes to federal health care regulations.

The changes, which take effect on Aug. 1, expand coverage to include free oral contraceptives and free preventive care immunizations for students enrolled in the University’s health plan. They follow recommendations made to the Provost’s Office by Yale Health’s Student Coverage Task Force, which was convened in 2008 and is made up of undergraduate and graduate students, an outside professional services consultant, University administrators and medical professionals.

Deputy Provost for Health Affairs and Academic Integrity Stephanie Spangler said in a Wednesday email that the task force considers concerns over coverage options raised by students, as well as changes in health care regulations and medical practices when making recommendations.

All of the changes bring Yale Health’s student coverage in line with new federal health care regulations that take effect in 2014, according to the Friday announcement. Spangler said the addition of free preventive care immunizations is “intended to make preventive medical care affordable and accessible for students” and “closely aligns” with Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law in March 2010. The introduction of free generic oral contraceptives also follows from federal health care reform — a requirement that met criticism from religious groups this spring.

The changes also include alterations to co-payments for emergency room visits, surgeries and admissions for hospital stays. Bariatric surgery and breast reduction are also no longer covered under the health plan.

Though Yale Health initially announced in a Friday afternoon email that free generic oral contraceptives and free preventive care immunizations would be made available to all students under the University’s basic coverage program, two hours later students received a follow-up, correction email stating that only students enrolled in the more expansive hospitalization and speciality coverage program — which can only be waived if students have outside coverage — would be eligible for the changes.

Spangler said Yale Health’s Student Coverage Task Force considers the benefits, cost and potential impacts of proposed changes before making recommendations, which are ultimately approved by both Yale Health administrators and the Provost’s Office.

The task force will review the changes and consider potential further improvements during the 2012-’13 academic year.

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