Threatened by financial struggles, North Carolina Mutual, USF’s student health insurance provider, has dropped the university from its coverage.
Brian Mockler, associate director of Student Health Services, said the university was notified by North Carolina Mutual that because of the possibility of going bankrupt, it would no longer be able to provide insurance to USF students this school year.
But students won’t be left out in the cold. Pearce and Pearce, Inc., will be the new provider of health insurance for USF students.The university, Mockler said, was notified by North Carolina Mutual about the situation Aug. 14.
“We had until Aug. 18 at midnight to find a new provider,” Mockler said. “That was when the new plans for this school year took effect.”
In order to make the transition from North Carolina Mutual to Pearce and Pearce, Mockler sought assistance from assistant general counsel Jodi Adamchak. She said the university took action when North Carolina Mutual notified USF to make sure that students had health insurance for the year.
“We didn’t want USF students to be left mid-year with no insurance and having to pay past claims because North Carolina Mutual could not continue coverage,” Adamchak said.
Both Mockler and Adamchak say students who already paid a check to North Carolina Mutual for insurance will have the option to switch to Pearce and Pearce, Inc. If a student decides not to select Pearce and Pearce, Inc., he or she may choose to receive a full refund. If a refund is chosen, North Carolina Mutual will provide free coverage for 30 days from Aug. 19 to those who want to explore other options to secure health insurance.
Those students that have paid and wish to have Pearce and Pearce, Inc. will become insurance holders, Adamchak said, and North Carolina Mutual will forward their premium paid to Pearce and Pearce, Inc. From this point on, students who choose to receive health insurance through USF will automatically have Pearce and Pearce, Inc. as their provider.
“No one is completely out of health insurance,” Mockler said.
Letters have been sent out to about 3,600 students who intended on receiving health insurance coverage through USF. Mockler said SHS has not received a lot of complaints, just a whole lot of curiosity.
“We wrote them immediately and they are only receiving the information now, so they are wondering what happened,” he said.
In the letter, it states that Pearce and Pearce, Inc. was chosen because it developed a package “integrating our concerns for keeping the cost equal to the cost of the prior coverage and limiting the necessary changes in benefits to create a viable health plan.”
Adamchak said SHS and the university were concerned at looking at both the cost of the new provider and the cost for the students.
“We’re looking for the best claim for the students and concerned for them,” she said.
Carolyn Pearce, manager of Pearce and Pearce, Inc., said the company is waiting for a list of names from North Carolina Mutual before sending out additional information to students.
The information, she said, will have more details regarding the benefit changes and options open. Students should soon be receiving the information.
Pearce said students who want to look at the information sooner and get an idea of the coverage they will be receiving can visit the company’s Web site http://www.student insurance.com in the next few days, during which it should be updated with USF student health insurance information.
“The Web site explains the plans, and there are about four or five changes that were made to the North Carolina Mutual plan,” Pearce said. “The information also includes a letter from us and North Carolina Mutual explaining what happened.”
The only differences, Pearce said, were a couple of issues regarding co-pays and deductibles.
However, the letter that was issued to students also indicates that students must act immediately in order to maintain continuous coverage.
For more information about the new student health insurance, call the health insurance office at 974-5407.