A Letter from Pennsylvania Department of Insurance
"At this point in your college career, you probably haven’t given much thought to health insurance, but even if you’re still on your parents’ plan, you won’t be forever. Now is the time to start learning about your options so you are prepared to make the best decision for your health when the time comes.
Health care is changing, and you may need to buy your own coverage. All Americans are now required to have health insurance coverage or they may have to pay a penalty when they file their annual taxes. If you do not have health insurance or expect to lose your health insurance in the future, make sure you understand what options are available to you and stay enrolled in coverage so you do not face this penalty.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides many options for health coverage. Choosing the right plan is not always easy, so the Pennsylvania Insurance Department wants to help you understand your options so you know where you can find help.
Under the Affordable Care Act, you are allowed to stay on your parents’ health plan until you turn 26. If your parent is covered by their Pennsylvania employer’s group plan, you may have the option of staying on that plan through age 29. However, if you are planning on relocating to a different state or city after graduation, you may need to consider a different plan if many of the health care providers in your new area do not accept your plan. Make sure you do your research when preparing to move.
If you need to look for your own coverage, the ACA provides a couple of ways to do this. You may purchase coverage through the health insurance marketplace. Information is available at Healthcare.gov. Several different health plans are available through the marketplace, and plans are available at different costs for different levels of service." (To read more, click here).
Have a question about your health that just can't wait?
Questions about your health can come up at any time. Many health insurances offer 24 hour nurse lines to give you answers for health concerns when and where you need them answered. We have listed a few frequently used health plan links that offer 24 hour nurse lines. In most cases you would have to be a member of these plans to use the nurse line. If your insurance is not listed, check the back of your insurance card to see if there is a 24 hour nurse line that you can take advantage of!
How To “Read” Your Health Insurance Card
Health Insurance cards, while the set-up is different, they all have the same basic information on it.
- Your Insurance Company Name
- Your name or the person who the insurance is under. So for example if your father is the person who has the policy and you are covered under him, then his name MAY appear there. It will depend on the insurance company.
- ID number. This is your policy number. If you ever need to contact the insurance company you will need this number.
- Group Number. If your health insurance is through an employer, you will more than likely have a group number. This identifies that group to the insurance company.
- Most insurance cards will list if you also have prescription (Rx) coverage, dental or vision coverage.
- Some insurance will require that you are “pre-certified” (approved) for certain services.
- If there is a co-pay (money that you need to pay when you visit the office) it is normally listed on the card. They may use abbreviations such as: OV – office visit; SP – specialist; UC – urgent care center; (walk-in clinic) ER – Emergency Room
- If your card says “PPO” that means you have a Preferred Provider Organization. This means that an arrangement has been made between a physician and the insurance company that the physician will provide his services at a pre-negotiated rate. If you go “out of network” you will have to pay more out of your pocket to be seen. “HMO” is a Health Maintenance Organization. If you are in one of these you may only see your primary care physician. If you need to see another doctor, you primary care physician must make the referral.
On the back of the card is contact information for your insurance company.
Most physician’s offices require that you bring your insurance care with you for each and every appointment, so it would be wise to keep in it your wallet so you have it when you need it.
Coverage will vary depending on your insurance company and your plan.
Sometime you may have a deductible to pay. This is an amount of money that you have to pay before your insurance will pay.
If you have any questions about your coverage we advise you ask your parent, call or check your insurance company’s website.
Students and parents are financially responsible for all medical expenses incurred for treatment beyond that provided in the Health Center. The University assumes no financial responsibility for care you receive off-campus. It is recommended that each student be covered by some type of quality private health and accident insurance. Athletic insurance coverage is provided for members of the University athletic teams, but it applies only to injuries which occur in team practices and competitions during the particular sports season. (Note: extracurricular and intramural sports are NOT covered by the athletic policy.) Therefore, athletes should also have quality private insurance. A private provider insurance company that is contracted by Shippensburg University can provide basic coverage. Information regarding this plan is available through University Health Services. Since an uninsured injury or sickness might impair the student's ability to continue because of financial loss, the University believes health insurance coverage is of the utmost importance.
Any questions about Etter Health Center, healthcare, or insurance should be addressed to (717) 477-1458.