A common misconception about AmeriCorps members is that they are young adults under age 25 – recent college graduates who are still able to use their parents’ health insurance policies because of a provision of the U.S. Affordable Care Act.
But AmeriCorps members are made up of people of different ages, educational and socioeconomic backgrounds. Many are in their 20s, but just as many are in their 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond – and reliable health insurance is a concern for them. For example, a 62-year-old might be ready to retire from a job that no longer brings her satisfaction and might be contemplating AmeriCorps service as a Reading Corps tutor. However, Medicare does not kick in until age 65, so she might decide to hold off to assure that her health insurance is intact.
AmeriCorps, however, offers health insurance to all full-time service members. Specifically, programs with AmeriCorps members must provide, or make available, healthcare insurance to those members serving a 1700-hour full-time term who are not otherwise covered by a healthcare policy at the time the member begins a term of service. And if a person loses coverage during their term of service as a result of service (or through no deliberate act of their own), they are also eligible for health insurance.
In Minnesota, the AmeriCorps programs all offer The Corps Network Health Plan. Coverage begins on members’ first day of active service and lasts through their service term.
Here are some common questions and answers about the health insurance policy, based on the rates offered, effective in September 2018 through now (numbers for the next year might change slightly):
When can an AmeriCorps member start receiving health benefits?
They should enroll so that the health plan begins on their first day of service. They will receive the information on how to enroll from an officer from the AmeriCorps program in which they are serving.
Can a part-time member or seasonal member qualify for health insurance?
Less-than-full-time members who are serving in a full-time capacity for a sustained period of time (e.g. a full-time summer project) are eligible for healthcare benefits. Programs may provide health insurance to less-than- full-time members serving in a full-time capacity, but they are not required to do so. (If you are going to serve part-time, and you want to receive health benefits, check in advance with the AmeriCorps program where you apply to learn whether you qualify.)
Who is the insurance plan provider?
Developed through the dedicated work of Willis Towers Watson, The Corps Network’s AmeriCorps Member Health Plan is underwritten by Cigna. Gerber underwrites the AD&D portion of the plan.
How much does the plan pay for a visit to a doctor’s office for a doctor that is in the plan’s network?
It pays 80 percent of the cost of the visit.
How much does the plan pay for a visit to Urgent Care?
There is a $20 co-pay for an urgent care center. Then the care is covered 80 percent (in-network).
How much of a surgery is covered?
80 percent of the costs of surgery, diagnostic lab, x-ray allergy injections are all covered in network. For out-of-network procedures, 60 percent is covered.
How much of routine preventative medical care (including screenings, mammograms, pap smear) is covered?
100 percent is covered and the deductible is waved.
Is mental health covered under this insurance?
Yes. Inpatient and outpatient visits to preferred provides are covered at 80 percent. Out-of-network providers are covered at 60 percent.
Are dental and vision care covered by this health insurance?
Yes, many of the programs (but not all of them) offer dental and vision insurance.
Are prescription drugs covered by this health plan?
80 percent of drug costs of most prescriptions are covered at an in-network pharmacy. Some prescriptions do need prior authorization, however.
How much do AmeriCorps members pay for the health insurance?
The health plan premium is paid in full for the members by their programs.
Do you want to learn more about The Corps Health Plan? Visit this website.
Are you interested in AmeriCorps service in Minnesota? Visit our website.