To: University Business Managers
School/Division HR Officers and Secondary Contacts
Graduate Program Student Service Managers
From: Emily Coble, Cash Manager and Acting Director of Accounting Services
Date: July 18, 2014
The COBRA benefit associated with the Graduate Student Health Insurance Plan (GSHIP) will end for all enrollees on July 31, 2014. This applies to all plan years including previous plan years 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 as well as the upcoming plan year 2014-2015. Current enrollees should have already received a letter from Blue Cross Blue Shield regarding this issue. Options for insurance include enrolling in a plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace (healthcare.gov), enrolling in an employer-based plan or enrolling in another available plan.
Due to ongoing state and federal regulatory changes in health care and the insurance marketplace, UNC General Administration has been reviewing all system-wide, University-sponsored health plans. UNC General Administration determined that The Graduate Student Health Insurance Program (GSHIP), frequently referred to as the RA/TA HealthInsurance Plan, can no longer be offered as an employer-provided plan and thus enrollees will not have access to COBRA upon discontinuation of the plan. Other plan benefits remain the same.
COBRA allowed the subscriber to pay both the employee and employer portions of the premium up to eighteen months. If, for example, an employer goes out of business or decides not to offer insurance and have employees access the Health Insurance Marketplace for coverage, then there is no longer an employer-based plan and COBRA is not an option. Much the same way, effective Aug. 1, 2014, there is no longer an employer-based plan for RAs-TAs to “attach to” for purposes of paying the employer portion of COBRA.
We apologize for the late notice but were not aware of the effect on the COBRA benefit on enrollees in previous plan years 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 with the transition from an employer-based plan to a blanket accident and illness policy. Questions about the discontinuation of COBRA can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Issues with Address Change Attempts
Some enrollees are being instructed to contact their group administrator when they are trying to change their address when they are accessing the BCBSNC Member Services site where they log in to view their claims and deductibles. Blue Cross Blue Shield is now aware of this glitch and is working to correct it.
In the meanwhile, the student should be directed to contact Student Blue Customer Service to update any contact information for insurance purposes. The number is printed on the back of their member ID card or if they do not have a card they should call 1-800-446-8053.