Thursday, November 12, 2009

Aetna and UnitedHealthcare Compete for College Student Market

/PRNewswire/ -- HealthLeaders-InterStudy, a leading provider of managed care market intelligence, reports that Aetna and UnitedHealthcare's StudentResources unit collectively enroll approximately 890,000 members in the university niche market, a growing segment as older and non-traditional students populate campuses. The recent Georgia, Alabama and Louisiana Health Plan Analysis finds that these plans typically include an annual limit on prescription drug coverage.

College health plans are considered to be part of the individual plan category, and across individual plans, insurers increasingly institute more stringent limits on pharmacy benefit options. However, within the college health plan segment, it's even more common to see an annual limit in place because prescription drug utilization among the younger student population will likely be less than the general population, and the limits provide a way to keep premiums low.

College health plans are tailored to dovetail with on-campus health services and often recognize the student health center as the primary provider.

"Most people assume that college students are insured under parent policies or by the university, but college plans are a growing market segment. The college plans offered by Aetna and UnitedHealthcare vary by institution, as each plan is designed to complement existing on-campus health and counseling programs," said Jan Shuxteau, analyst with HealthLeaders-InterStudy. "As college campuses become more diversified and attract more non-traditional students, the health needs have changed. Aetna's student health division, for instance, has reported a lot of use of its behavioral health services offered to students."

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