COLUMBIA — MU officials on Friday announced they would no longer provide subsidized health insurance for graduate students, but instead would offer one-time fellowships to help cover some of the costs. Read on to learn what that means for students:

What are my options for health insurance now?

  • International students: You'll get $709 for 20-hour assistantships and $620 for 10-hour positions, but you'll owe an additional $970 to stay on the university's insurance plan for 12 months.
  • Domestic students: You can stay on the university's plan by paying $3,051 for one year of coverage or $1,240 for the fall semester. You'll receive a one-time fellowship of $1,240 for 20-hour assistantships and $620 for 10-hour positions.
  • Students younger than 26 can be covered under their parents’ insurance plan.
  • Insurance can be bought through the federal health insurance marketplace at healthcare.gov

Am I eligible for federally subsidized health insurance?

Possibly. An individual needs a minimum annual income of $11,670 to qualify for subsidized insurance coverage through the federal health insurance marketplace.

If so, you can apply at healthcare.gov. While open enrollment begins Nov. 15, you’ll be eligible to enroll immediately because of a special exemption.

What about Medicaid?

Missouri legislators decided not to accept federal funding to expand Medicaid coverage for those who don’t earn enough to qualify for federal subsidies.

In Missouri, disabled adults, pregnant women and parents with incomes near the poverty level may be eligible.

How long will I be without coverage?

You’ll have continuous coverage if you stay on the university’s plan.

Through the federal marketplace plan, insurance coverage typically begins on the first of each month. Enroll and pay the first month premium of a plan by the 15th of the month, and coverage will begin two weeks later.

Will I pay a penalty if I don’t enroll in insurance coverage? 

*Possibly. Healthcare.gov has a tool that points you towards penalty exemptions, which could include a low income or not being able to find insurance that costs less than 8 percent of your income.

Who’s representing me?

Graduate student organizations have created a Facebook group to share updates and information on the issue. The group is known as the Forum on Graduate Rights (formerly the Forum on Graduate Health Insurance).

How can I share my story?

Forum organizers recommend using the hashtags #Mizzou and #GradInsurance on Twitter as well as posting stories on YouTube. If you do so, you can send a link to MizzouGradInsuranceSocialMedia@gmail.com.

You can also get involved with the Forum on Graduate Rights by emailing MizzouGradInsurance@gmail.com.

Share your story with the Missourian on Facebook or Twitter @CoMissourian.

What's next?

MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin has requested the creation of a task force for recommendations on providing affordable insurance to graduate students. The recommendations are due to Loftin by Oct. 31.

Supervising editor is Adam Aton.

Geoff West is a general assignment reporter for the Missourian.

  • Enterprise and investigations @CoMissourian

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