Health Insurance considerations

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Make sure you read this page from CMU’s health services:

Most graduate students (who are employed by CMU) have the option to choose either Aetna’s Student Health Insurance Plan or the University Plan. Compared to the university plan, Aetna’s plan is better in a lot of ways. Aetna has higher premium but there’s very little copay and covers almost everything. Folklore is that Aetna student health insurance is the best one out there, albeit with a high premium. There are a lot of in network offices in walking distance from campus. The student plan also covers weekly therapy visits for FREE and also physical therapy for FREE. 


If you get contacts/lens updates every year it’s way cheaper with the insurance than paying out of pocket: If you want contact lenses, you need a doctor’s prescription within 12 months. That means if you don’t have a prescription, you have to get an eye exam, contact lens fit, and then buy the lenses. all of that is more expensive than $50 for eye exam + contact lens fit plus whatever’s extra of 105 for your year’s worth of lenses. (this is a 2017/18 calculation and the exact numbers will change but the consideration holds).

However, Aetna has a list of “in-network” providers that you can look up so you may or may not be able to get the same contacts you always get.


With Aetna’s plan, regular dental checkups are free and that is worth it. Plus tooth damage is an actual thing you’d want covered.  (As opposed to vision injuries, which are usually covered by general medical insurance). Check “Covered Preventive Services” here: (2 visits per year) 

Dental cleaning is only free twice a year, so beware of dentists that try to schedule you in three times a year, etc. Orthodontics are NOT COVERED — if you previously had braces and need something fixed/looking into getting braces, it wont be covered. Beware of these services!


Health Insurance considerations