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University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds responded to frustrations over increases in university health insurance costs in an email Thursday, saying the premium increase will be reduced from 25% to 18%.

Bounds said UnitedHealthcare Student Resources, the insurance vendor for the university’s student plan, initially proposed a 25% increase in student premiums, or the cost of insurance, for the 2019-20 academic year in order to keep the plan sustainable.

“We carefully weighed our options to address these rising costs while maintaining the quality of our plan and disrupting as few students as possible.” Bounds said. “We knew every choice would have trade-offs.”

According to the email, reducing the premium increase to around 18% means an increase to out-of-pocket costs.

Bounds said the university is waiting on the Nebraska Department of Insurance for approval on a plan to keep student out-of-pocket minimums unchanged from the current year. When using an in-network provider, individuals would have to pay $2,200 out of pocket at most.

Insurance premiums will still increase by 18%, which will mean an increase of $40 per month for students, according to Bounds. He said prescription drug copayments will rise as planned. The deductible will remain $500 when using in-network providers. This means once a student meets their deductible, the student will pay 20% of the in-network expenses until the student reaches their out-of-pocket maximum.

Bounds said that this is a one-time solution. As healthcare costs continue to increase, he said he is not optimistic that the university can prevent significant price increases in the future. According to Bounds, the university has already started planning for next year and will include students and faculty in the process.

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