- BROWSE INITIATIVES
- BY INTEREST GROUP
- BY PRIORITY ISSUE
- BY WICHE DEPARTMENT
- BY WICHE STATE
- ALPHA LIST ALL
- PROJECT ARCHIVE
- WICHE REGION
- NEWS ROOM
- ABOUT US
- WICHE DIRECTORY
- ASK WICHE
The WICHE Commission has voted to partner with the Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC) to expand the benefits of MHECare, a student health program offering competitively priced medical benefits, to public and private institutions in the 15-state WICHE region. Beginning in fall 2012, Western institutions may offer their students MHECare coverage.
MHEC, with financial support from Lumina Foundation, worked with its regional Student Benefits Advisory Committee for nearly four years to create MHECare, designed to provide colleges and universities with health insurance for their students, along with significant cost savings (achievable by working collaboratively across institutions). A competitive bid process led MHEC to choose Mercer Health & Benefits, an independent consulting firm, as the program administrator. Working with Mercer and its advisory committee, MHEC designed the plan and selected UnitedHealthcare StudentResources (UHCSR), a national healthcare carrier, to underwrite the program (again, through a competitive bid process). UHCSR, a division of the national healthcare carrier UnitedHealthcare, specializes in competitively priced student health insurance plans, has a large national network of providers, and offers web-based enrollment and support tools.
MHECare offers standard high or low PPO options to institutions that will have fewer than 300 students enrolled in the plan, as well as to institutions that don’t currently offer a plan. Rates for these plans will not be based on an institution’s claims experience but will depend on whether the plan is voluntary or mandatory with waiver. Institutions with more than 300 students enrolled have additional options, including a plan with features tailored to their student population. The cost for the plan will be underwritten based on the institution’s claims experience and utilization. As more campuses offer MHECare, rates will become more stable as risk is spread and the impact of large claims is reduced.
MHECare can also provide institutions with over 300 students enrolled with a quote for their current plan design with any changes that are required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The healthcare reform law sets dramatically higher coverage limits for student health policies. This has dramatically driven up the cost of student health insurance policies at many campuses.
The New England Board of Higher Education has voted to join MHECare, so that institutions in 31 states are now eligible to participate. Participating institutions must agree that MHECare will be the only plan offered to all of their eligible populations. Since MHEC has already completed its due diligence in selecting UHCSR as the carrier, it may not be necessary for institutions to conduct a formal request for proposal, saving both time and resources. Currently, the plan offers medical benefits only (not vision or dental insurance).
Institutions interested in MHECare may obtain a request-for-quote form from Jennifer Dahlquist, MHEC's assistant vice president for cost savings and chief financial officer (firstname.lastname@example.org, 612.626.1602). If quotes are requested for more than the standard high and low PPO plans, MHECare will require additional information (which may include a copy of an institution’s current plan design, requested benefits, and claims experience). Once all the information is received, UHCSR will send the quote in approximately 10 working days.
WICHE currently partners with MHEC on two other cost-saving initiatives: the MHEC Master Property Program, which provides property insurance to colleges and universities; and the MHECTech program, which enables colleges and universities in the Midwest and West to buy equipment and other products off competitively bid purchasing agreements to contain or reduce their costs. Its experience with both initiatives—and that of participating Western institutions—has been highly positive. For more details on MHECare’s key provisions and students’ out-of-pocket costs, visit the MHECare page [www.mhec.org/mhecare]. Additionally, questions may be addressed to Jennifer Dahlquist or Jere Mock, WICHE’s vice president of programs and services (email@example.com, 303.541.0222).