Everything You Need to Know About Health Insurance

2019-2020 is a new year, with new health insurance enrollments. Here’s our guide to navigating this messy bureaucratic system:

Health Insurance 101:

Have you already been guaranteed health insurance through your funding package this year? Don’t have any dependents to insure? Then great! You don’t have to do anything at all to be enrolled or to have your health insurance paid for.

If you aren’t in that lucky group, then welcome to union-negotiated health insurance subsidies! NYU will cover 90% of the costs for your enrollment in the NYU Student Health Insurance Basic Plan for the semesters in which you are working; you just have to pay the remaining 10%. If you’re a non-Tandon student and you want a more substantial plan through NYU, no worries. You can upgrade to the Comprehensive, carry forward the Basic Plan discount, and pay the difference between the two plans. (NYU Tandon has only one plan for students, which is the Basic plan).

How does this work?

  1. You need to enroll in a health insurance plan via the NYU/CHP website (other insurers don’t count for this benefit!).
    • The deadline to enroll is September 30th for the Fall and February 10th for the Spring.
      • If you buy non-NYU/CHP insurance, but later really need to join the NYU plan due to changing life circumstances, you still might be able to pull off a “special enrollment” under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Contact CHP Customer Service ((877) 373-1170) to see if that’s possible
  2. When enrolling in the Fall you have the option to pick whether or not you’d like to buy insurance for the full year all at once (“the annual plan”) or semester by semester (“the two payment option”). We recommend the latter because it means that you don’t have to wait months to be reimbursed for future semesters. Both options are covered by our contract, they just have slightly different steps:
    • If you pick the annual plan, skip ahead to step 5.
    • If you pick the two payment option, head down to step 3 ⬇️
  3. NYU will bill you for the full rate of your health insurance, not what you should ultimately only pay as a union worker. This charge will shows up in your bursar account.
    • Although they appear on the same bill, your health insurance costs are not due at the same time as your tuition and fees. 
  4. You don’t have to pay for the full cost of your health insurance. Instead, we recommend only paying your 10% for the semester (plus the extra for Comprehensive if that’s what you bought) along with any tuition and fees, and then forgetting about it.
    • Let’s do a bit of math together:
      • At Washington Square your Fall installment will be either $1,280 (Basic) or $1,423 (Comprehensive) so if you opted for the 2 installment plan you would only have to pay $128.00 or $271.00, respectively, for the Fall.
        • In the Spring, you’ll have to make another payment, equal to $200.30 (Basic) or $427.30 (Comprehensive), assuming you’re still working a union job during that semester. 
      • At Tandon your Fall installment is $681 so you would pay only $68.10.
        • In the Spring, you’ll have to make another payment, equal to $108.20, assuming you’re still working a union job during that semester. 
  5. However, if
    • (a) math isn’t your thing and/or,
    • (b) if the prospect of having an unpaid balance on your bursar account stresses you out no matter how much we promise you that this won’t have any negative repercussions, or
    • (c) if you’ve already paid your bill in full before you found out that you found out about this benefit, then unfortunately

You’re stuck waiting for NYU to deduct 90% of the costs for Basic from your bill and refund what you overpaid.

  • NYU will do this whenever its various bureaucratic parts communicate to each other’s satisfaction that yes, you are in fact working a union job and that yes, the university is legally obliged to pay for this cost.
  • (Last year this didn’t happen until October).
  • (Yes, that is ridiculous).
  • They will only refund you one semester at a time, so if you bought the annual plan, you’ll only get a partial refund during the Fall, with a second payment in the Spring (so long as you continue to work a union job during that semester).

6. At that point you’ll be given a refund for 90% of Basic and your Bursar bill will be corrected.

(***Bonus step if you have dependent(s) to enroll***): Go to the NYU/CHP website. Click on the Dependent Enrollment button. Enter your dependent(s) details. Enter your credit card info. ***SAVE THE EMAIL RECEIPT that CHP sends you (often to your dependent’s email account)*** Apply for up to a 75% reimbursement after the semester’s over (see below for more details).


But wait—there’s more union benefits:

Free Stu-Dent Dental Services!

GSOC student workers will also received complete Stu-Dent coverage, free of charge. There’s no enrollment for student workers; you just show up at NYU Dental and get free care. You may need to bring proof of employment during the first few weeks of the year while NYU compiles its list of graduate employees (but an honor’s system should also hold until then). Workers at Stu-Dent may tell you ominous tales about what will befall you if you are proven after the fact not to be a worker, but proceed confidently and all will be well.

If you are a union worker, please do not opt-in for dental care when enrolling for health insurance—if you’ve already done so, please email Stu-Dent for a refund. 

Access the Dependent Care Support Funds!

Graduate employees in union positions can access our dependent healthcare fund to help reduce the cost of dependent health insurance. Up to 75% of (Basic) dependent coverage could be reimbursed for your dependent health insurance expenses in both the Fall and in the Spring/Summer periods if you’ve been a worker during that time. The exact breakdown will depend on how many people apply to the fund. This pool of money will grow every year during our contract and we heartily encourage all eligible workers to take advantage of it.

NB: NYU only pays out this fund AFTER the semester in question is over. So, resultantly, the Spring/Summer 2019 deadline will likely be mid August 2019 and the Fall 2019 deadline will be in January 2020. You can apply anytime though. If you’ve got your documentation in front of you now, why wait?

NB: There’s other benefits and supports out there for parents with kids under 6 or 12 years of age. Check out our Guide to Parental Benefits for the details. You can also read about the union’s childcare fund here.

X for 1 Dependent Rates

OK, everyone gets this benefit whether you’re a union worker or not, but after we signed our contract NYU/CHP suddenly started offering flat rate dependent coverage. This adds significant value to the plans for families. So, regardless of the number of kids (+/- a partner) you have, you’ll pay the same as someone with only one dependent.

Access to the Employee Assistance Program!

If you or your dependents would benefit from some counseling, and the regular student health options aren’t available or a good fit, you and your dependents can access NYU’s Employee Assistance Program and talk with a counselor free of charge at any time. They offer a wide range of services for psychological, family, financial, and life management issues, with four free sessions per issue.


And here’s some common questions:

What If I’m Only Working in J-term? The Spring? The Summer?

If you aren’t working throughout the year, or don’t know if you’ll be working yet, we recommended that you to sign up and pay semester-by-semester (what NYU calls a “two-installment plan”) so that you don’t have to pay more than you owe. However, even if you did pay for everything up front in one annual bill, you will still get your semester’s reimbursement when HR crunches all the numbers midway through the semester in question.

Because of the way NYU/CHP package their health insurance plans, spring workers will be awarded a subsidy for both spring and summer in late Feb/early March. Going by past precedent, this applies to J-term workers too, even if their positions don’t continue into the spring semester.

If you only work in the summer, you’ll be awarded a refund equal to 90% of the *summer* component of the Basic spring/summer health insurance cost, likely in mid-July.

What If I started working mid-way through the semester?

There is unfortunately a ‘cut off point’ for your eligibility for the health insurance refund. You need to start on the job within the first 10 weeks of the semester to get your refund OR within the first 12 weeks of the spring semester in a job that continues into the first 4 weeks of the summer semester.

What’s a Union Position Again?

All TA and GA positions and some RA positions, as well as adjunct PhD instructors before their 8th year, are included in the bargaining unit, and thus are entitled to union benefits. Graders, tutors and STEM RA positions (except Applied Psych) and GAs within the School of Medicine or Stern are specifically excluded, however. See Article I of our contract for the complete list, read through our FAQ, or contact a Steward if you’ve got questions.

I still haven’t received my refund from last semester!

Please double check your bursar account to make sure that you don’t have any spare credit sitting in there. Sometimes it can be easily overlooked, or it can be the case that the Bursar has your money and just won’t release it until you ask politely (WTF NYU?).

If there’s no money waiting in your Bursar account, then there’s a few reasons it could be missing:

  1. You started more than 10 weeks into the semester
  2. Your job may—rightly or wrongly—have been classified by HR as a non-union position
  3. Someone in payroll messed up or lost your paperwork
  4. You’re paperwork’s correct and you’re clearly a union worker, but you’re stuck in a queue with many others, waiting for HR to processes the next “bargaining unit employees” list, giving the Bursar the greenlight to change your account. HR only issues about 3 lists per semester, so sometimes this can be a month-long wait.

To investigate the particulars of your situation, send an email to PeopleLink with your N# and job title. Unlike the union, they have access to your personnel file and pay coding, so they should be able to give you an answer (but if they don’t, or if their answer seems unsatisfactory, email us and we can raise the issue on your behalf).

Got Problems?

NYU makes A LOT of mistakes. If you have a problem with accessing services, or if you think that you aren’t being counted as a GSOC member when you are working in a union position, please contact a GSOC Steward for assistance. We’re eager to help you get the coverage you’re entitled to and advocate for the expansion of the contract’s terms as much as we can.

Thanks, and feel free to keep in touch!