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Student Medical Expense Policies

HUHS and Health Insurance Requirements

The Mandatory UHS Student Health Fee is required as part of enrollment at Harvard, and covers most services at Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) with no copay. Waivers of the Student Health Fee are generally not available, except in very limited cases, as described at the bottom of this page on the HUHS website.

Massachusetts law requires that any full-time student enrolled in an institution of higher learning in Massachusetts participate in a qualifying student health insurance program or in a health plan of comparable coverage. All students are automatically enrolled in the Harvard University Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) to provide this required level of insurance coverage. The SHIP fee may be waived by students who document coverage under a comparable health insurance plan. Students who already have comparable coverage -- for example, under a parent's health insurance plan -- are advised to waive SHIP coverage. The deadline to waive SHIP coverage for an upcoming academic year without incurring a late fee is July 31.

Please note that under Federal student aid regulations, an allowance for the Harvard Student Health Insurance Plan may be included in the student's budget only for students who enroll in the plan. For students who waive this coverage, the allowance will not be given and the total student budget will be reduced by the amount of the plan fee. Students may request upon appeal to have the documented cost of an alternate health insurance plan for which the student pays added to the student's budget. Harvard University Health Services also provides an informative toolkit on the health care coverage options available to students through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including a comparison chart of important factors to consider when choosing health insurance coverage.

Uninsured Medical Expenses

Documented medical expenses that are required for students and their dependents, if not covered by insurance, can be added to the student expense budget, and may increase eligibility for need-based aid. For students already eligible for need-based HLS Grant aid, these expenses will directly increase Grant eligibility. For students who do not qualify for need-based Grant aid, budget increases for uninsured medical expenses can be met through additional supplemental loan assistance.

In general, treatment for chronic illnesses, injuries, and medical emergencies (and directly related costs such as prescriptions not covered by insurance) is eligible for assistance through an expense budget increase. The following expense categories, however, are excluded, and students should plan to meet the expenses below by allocating a portion of the Room/Board/Personal allowance in the standard student budget to these expenses.:

  • Insurance copayments and expenses related to routine preventive care
  • Over the counter medications and products
  • Eyeglasses, contact lenses and supplies, laser vision correction, and routine eye exams
  • Prescription drugs, unless related to treatment of an ongoing illness for which the budget has been increased
  • Elective procedures
  • Dental procedures (see below)

As part of our standard required appeal documentation, we may request a letter from a medical professional before we can approve your request.

If you have, or expect to have, uninsured medical expenses, please schedule an appointment with your financial aid officer by calling Student Financial Services at (617) 495-4606. You can also initiate the appeal process by submitting an online appeal web form.

Uninsured Dental Expenses

Students are encouraged to enroll in the Dental Blue Plan offered through the Harvard University Student Health Program. An allowance toward the cost of enrollment in Dental Blue is included in the standard student expense budget, but students must take action to enroll in this program by September 30 of the current academic year to be eligible for the August 1 to July 31 coverage period.

Financial assistance in the form of increased borrowing eligibility for supplemental loans is available to pay for necessary dental procedures requiring a copayment. In all cases, documentation of cost and the necessity of treatment is required. For students who have not enrolled in Dental Blue, the amount already included in the standard student budget for dental insurance is deducted from the cost of any procedures for which a budget increase is requested.

If you have, or expect to have, uninsured dental expenses, please schedule an appointment with your financial aid officer by calling Student Financial Services at (617) 495-4606. You can also initiate the process of having your student budget adjusted to permit additional borrowing by submitting an online appeal web form.

Last modified: December 17, 2014

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