Health Coverage for Graduating Students

The Harvard Student Health Plan expires on July 31, 2012. It is not possible to continue this plan beyond the end date. You can find details on UHS’s Health Insurance Options for Graduating Students page here (PDF).

Some things to consider as you look at policies:

Your state of residence
Insurance is regulated by the state so depending on your state of residency, you may have different insurance plans available to you. For instance, most states provide short term plans (often known as bridge insurance). However, there are some important exceptions. Short term plans are unavailable in CT, HI, MA, NJ, NY, and VT. Those states only offer longer term plans. If you are in a state with longer term coverage periods, be sure to look at cancellation policies. If you plan to move around during your period of coverage, be sure to check that your plan covers services in locations you plan to visit.

Your health and family status
Single, healthy students may find it attractive to enroll in a high-deductible major medical policy that only covers catastrophic health costs. The advantage is that premiums tend to be lower while providing some security in the event of a major medical event (e.g. surgery, hospitalization). A downside to catastrophic coverage is that most policies will not cover routine care or prescriptions. If you choose this option, be sure to complete all of your checkups before your current plan ends.

Students with chronic illnesses, medication needs, and dependents should focus on maintaining continuous coverage to minimize complications with pre-existing conditions.

Harvard does not endorse any particular insurance carrier but here is some basic information we have gathered on some insurance programs. If you have a positive experience with other programs, please email dos@law so we can add them to this list.

Massachusetts Health Connector
If you are staying in Massachusetts after graduation, you can avail yourself of a variety of insurance plans for Massachusetts residents offered at www.mahealthconnector.org/portal/site/connector/

Alumni Associations
While Harvard does not offer an alumni group plan, many colleges and universities do. Check your college’s alumni website to see if you can join their alumni group plan.

Short Term Plans
For graduates eligible for short term/bridge insurance (those who will not reside in CT, HI, MA, NJ, NY, and VT), you can explore short term/bridge insurance options at:

Prescription Coverage
Some pharmacies are starting to offer low cost prescription plans. See, for example, http://www.cvs.com

Compare On-Line
There are insurance broker sites where you can compare health plan options against each other. See, for example, http://www.ehealthinsurance.com or http://myinsuranceexpert.com/resources/health-insurance-for-students.aspx or http://individualhealthinsurance.org/

For more information
There is some good basic information about insurance options at http://www.insureuonline.org/