Stanford to Use School Funds to Help Graduate Students Facing Higher Premiums for Dependents
Stanford University officials said yesterday that they will use school funds to help graduate students with dependents pay for health insurance premium increases expected this fall, the AP/Contra Costa Times reports (AP/Contra Costa Times, 7/25). After canceling several costly HMO contracts, the university notified graduate students with dependents earlier this month that the new health plan for dependents will be a preferred provider organization that will have higher monthly premiums and will "probably" have higher out-of-pocket costs, such as deductibles. The change could raise premiums by as much as 60%. About 250 Stanford graduate students with dependents are insured through the university (California Healthline, 7/23). University officials did not say how much they would contribute or where the funds will come from, and even with the university's funds, graduate students will see a premium increase of "about 20%." Under the university's new plan, premiums for graduate students' spouses will increase 16%, from $122 per month to $141. Premiums will jump 22% for one child, from $78 per month to $95, and 23% for multiple children, from $111 to $137 per month. Dr. Ira Friedman, director of Stanford's Student Health Service, said that Stanford's contribution applies only to the next academic year. He said, "The university is trying to help students in a stop-gap way through a very difficult juncture. But the university has not been able to identify funds it can put toward this in an ongoing way." Friedman added that the university still suggests that students pursue other coverage options, including government-sponsored programs such as Healthy Families and Medi-Cal. However, students have "bristled" at that advice, suggesting instead that Stanford use part of its $8.6 billion endowment to offset the increases (AP/Contra Costa Times, 7/25).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.