Get coverage or take the hit: U students should be required to have health insurance

By By Anne Looser

By Anne Looser

According to the National College Health Assessment conducted last fall, 14 percent of surveyed students did not have health-insurance coverage. Another 4 percent were unsure of their insurance status. Nearly 1 in 5, or 4000 students, are not protected.

The college age group (18-24) is typically a healthy age group, but is affected by STDs (including HIV), accidents, injuries and some infectious diseases.

The Student Health Advisory Committee is a student group on campus which “serve(s) as liaisons between U students and the Student Health Service. They provide Student Health Services with feedback to improve their quality of care.”

The committee believes “the only way to remedy this problem is to require students to maintain health insurance coverage while attending the U.”

Whether students carry the U’s plan or another is up to the individual students.

I agree. At first I was doubtful-I thought insurance is really expensive and that I couldn’t afford it. And what about students really struggling with finances?

I brought these concerns to SHAC and they had answers.

If everyone is required to have insurance, the cost goes down and the benefits go up.

Exactly how much it would cost and how much the benefits would increase would depend upon how many students choose to use the U’s plan.

SHAC estimates the cost would be approximately $80 per month with a raise in benefits. Students can also include the cost of heath insurance in their Financial Aid requests. The cost of attending the U goes up, so your eligibility goes up.

If you think about the cost and consequences of a hospital visit, the benefits stand out even more. One night’s stay could cost upward of $5,000 without insurance. This could force a student out of school. According to SHAC, in some areas of the country medical drop-outs account for nearly 50 percent of all withdrawals.

In 1994, the U decided to mandate insurance and enrollment stayed the same and 98 percent of the student body complied with the mandate.

According to, “More schools have started mandating the coverage in the past four years. Hospitals no longer absorb the costs because of increasing health care expenses.”

The plan is not only sound, but will increase the welfare of our campus.

If you have questions about SHAC’s plan, please attend their Q&A session on Friday, March 25 at 1p.m. in the Hinckley Forum. You can also call 585-1274 or e-mail [email protected]

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