Students may see rates fall in fall

Ruth Brown

Ruth Brown

Next year, some of the international students at SDSU will save a great deal of money on their required health insurance plan.

Currently, all international students taking credit hours and their dependents who do not have health insurance are required to buy the health insurance plan that SDSU offers. By next year, the plan’s cost will go down approximately 15 percent.

“I think the drop in costs will be a real benefit to the international students at SDSU,” said Marysz Rames, vice president of student affairs.

One of the main reasons for the drop in cost is because a lot of the premium cost can now be cut out, said Eric Hanson, the Students’ Association vice president.

The Board of Regents, working with a new regional company, helped combine the cost. This action allowed the prices of insurance to drop and reduce the amount each international student is required to pay.

The board started looking for a new provider when costs of insurance started increasing, said Hanson. Another benefit to this is that if costs start to go up again, it would not be as much of a dramatic increase.

“We started talking about this possibility about one year ago,” said Rames. “We hope to have it ready for the fall semester next year.”

Like any other health insurance company, the cost per person is different. It varies by age, number of children and whether a spouse is involved, explained Doug Wermedal, assistant dean of student affairs.

For example, a student who is younger, unmarried and has no children will pay much less than a student who is married with children.

Currently, a student who is under the age of 25 is required to pay $823 annually. A student who is 30 years of age or older is required to pay $1,338 annually. The price continues to grow if a student is married or has children.

“We are having a great deal of non-traditional students coming to SDSU who are married or have multiple children,” said Wermedal. “These students are going to have to pay more than the 18 to 20-year-old students who have no commitments.”

Depending on what the final decisions of the plan are, there may be some other modest changes to the plan other than the cost, said Wermedal, but nothing that is relatively significant to the plan.

Although the final decisions have not yet been made for the insurance plan, they will be discussed at the next board meeting.

There are currently approximately 225 international students that use the health insurance plan. Exemptions to not having the insurance may be made by SDSU for those international students who have comparable or superior health care insurance.

According to the Student Health and Counseling Web site, domestic students are also eligible to enroll in the insurance plan. Domestic students taking five or more credit hours during the fall or spring semesters or three hours in the summer, and domestic graduate students taking credit hours are eligible for the health insurance plan. If students seeking a doctorate degree wish to enroll, they may as well. Internet courses will not be counted towards the required amount.

“We are extremely happy that the costs are going down for the students,” said Hanson.

Students who wish to apply for the health insurance may ask for assistance at Student Health and Counseling Services located in West Hall. The insurance enrollment form is available to be printed off at the Health and Counseling Web site,