Insuring Our Future: Rewriting Health Policy at the George Washington University

March 19, 2018

The George Washington University (GW) has a student health insurance problem. Annual insurance premiums for the university-sponsored student health insurance plan (SHIP) reached a five-year high of $4,103 for the 2017-18 policy year. This cost is exorbitantly high in comparison to similar plans offered by many other universities, discouraging students from enrolling in the school’s health care plan and driving up costs for those who are enrolled. In Insuring Our Future: Rewriting Health Policy at the George Washington University, former Roosevelt Network Summer Fellow Cara Schiavone examines health care policy at GW and offers policy prescriptions to strengthen it.

To address rising health insurance costs at GW and falling student enrollment in the plan, the university should rewrite its student health insurance system in the following ways:

  1. Transition to a supplemental health care program to ensure that all full-time undergraduate students are enrolled in a health insurance plan.
  2. Subsidize the supplemental care program on a sliding scale based on student financial resources.
  3. Form a student health advisory council (SHAC) to allow greater student input on this and other student health care concerns.

To make health care accessible to all students and to increase the affordability of health insurance for students in need of financial assistance, the George Washington University must change its health insurance system.