SocraticProf Posted August 16, 2015 Share Posted August 16, 2015 Short Version: On Friday, the University of Missouri cancelled the health insurance that it provided to graduate students. It did so because of an IRS interpretation of part of the Affordable Care Act. I'll go into more detail below, but I'm wondering if this is a widespread issue. Is this happening at other schools? How was it handled? How are students responding? And, if you are a member of a graduate student union, is being in a union producing better outcomes as it relates to this issue?Longer Version: So, what happened? At the University of Missouri, students with assistantships and fellowships could receive free health insurance (for a particular plan, the university paid the premiums). Roughly 70% of graduate students took advantage of this program. However, around 10:30 am Friday, graduate students received a mass email stating that the IRS "prohibits businesses from providing employees subsidies specifically for the purpose of purchasing health insurance from individual market plans" and that the IRS considers the university's Aetna health insurance an "individual market plan". Reportedly, if the university did nothing, it could be fined $100 per day per student whose health insurance was being subsidized. MU claims to have first been aware of the issue on July 21st, but they did not notify students of any issue until August 14th, when it notified students that it would not be providing subsidies. That notice came 13 hours before the existing health insurance plans expired. Now 1000s of graduate students and their families are without health insurance. MU does plan to give every graduate assistant/fellow a one-time fellowship to help offset costs. The fellowship amount varies based on FTE and status as domestic or international., But, those fellowships cover less than 50% of the cost of buying the previous insurance out of pocket.Here is MU's FAQ page on the issue: http://gradstudies.missouri.edu/about/news-events/news-features/2015/information-about-student-health-insurance/Here is a local article: http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/education/mu-graduate-student-employees-lose-health-insurance-subsidy/article_28a9170a-ac0a-550e-9565-58345d6477bd.htmlIs the experience similar elsewhere? Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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