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Being a Student at NU—Some Practical Advice

Being a student again—especially at NU where I also did my undergraduate study—has been a terrific experience. I’ve enjoyed retracing my steps on campus, revisiting favorite spaces, and using all the new online systems (registering for classes used to be a much more laborious experience). However, being a student at times involves other matters such as interfacing with University administration or managing financial support. I want to share some of the practical knowledge I feel would have been helpful to me when I entered this program. What follows is some insight on the topic of student health insurance. Other topics will be posted soon.

Student Health Insurance

If you decide to take the NU student health insurance, following are several important points to know about the coverage provided:

  • Coverage technically begins September 1, but…
  • Insurance enrollment does not actually occur until after class registration later in September, and verification of your enrollment will take several days after that. I did not receive an ID card until around October 1.
  • When your enrollment is finally confirmed, you won’t receive any notification; you have to keep checking the website to see if you can access a virtual ID card. Some time later, a physical card will also arrive in the mail.
  • Any doctor visits that occur between September 1 (when coverage technically begins) and confirmation of your new insurance (around October 1) may be covered “retroactively.”
  • You will be billed in one lump sum for the annual policy with your first bill from the University.

What might this mean for you?

  • Make sure you have the $3K to pay for the annual premium when the bill comes in October. I was accustomed to paying for my health insurance on a monthly basis, as I suspect most people are.
  • If you are reluctant (as I was) to cancel previous or existing health insurance without confirmation of enrollment in the NU plan, AND you happen to need to see a doctor during that gap period between September 1 and October 1, your previous/existing insurance will be considered your Primary insurance; the NU insurance will be a Secondary carrier. However, since you won’t yet have an enrollment ID number for the Secondary, you can’t inform your doctor of this billing issue at the time of the appointment. The bill can be retroactively submitted to the Secondary/NU plan after you have an ID card and provide this information to your doctor.
  • Once you have an ID card from the NU plan, cancel your previous insurance and of course inform your doctors. Any premiums paid to your previous insurer for coverage during the aforementioned gap period will be sunk cost. For me, this meant I paid two health insurance premiums for the month of September.

Other things to know:

  • The plan provides free flu shots. I got mine on campus before class one Saturday morning at the Student Health Center.
  • Claims are processed promptly.
  • I live in Chicago, and I did not have to change any doctors to stay in network.