Mandatory health insurance rejected


Alakananada Mookerjee

SDSU students won’t be required to buy health insurance, a committee appointed by the Board of Regents decided.

The committee, which was formed to consider mandatory health insurance policies for students, struck down the proposed policy in December 2004.

Touting the Board’s decision as highly judicious, Tonya Goertz, a senior journalism major, said it made little sense for most students to buy health insurance. She noted many non-traditional students have coverage from outside insurance and the great majority of younger students are covered by their parent’s health insurance plans.

Dr. Janet Mullen, director of Student Health Services said, “I think it was a good decision. Had the Board gone ahead with the proposal, it would have had a negative effect on the students.”

In a March 2004 Board of Regents meeting, a member suggested a review of the health insurance policy in effect at the time, under which only international students were required to buy health insurance. A committee – comprised of representatives from the state universities, faculty, board members and insurance executives – was created to look into the matter and make recommendations.

The committee came up with three plans. The first option suggested students under the Soft Waiver Plan would not have to buy additional insurance if they could prove that they were being covered at a certain level under their parent’s health insurance. For the second option, under the Hard Waiver Plan, it was proposed that students would have to buy insurance regardless of whether or not they had outside insurance. The third option was to not alter the current policy under which students had the freedom of choice to purchase insurance.

Students’ Association President Amanda Mattingly said, “The students decided against it because we thought that it was a ridiculous idea.”

University officials and students alike agree that the proposed change in policy would have imposed a huge economic burden on the students.

Marysz Rames, vice president of student affairs, said, “It could have caused a significant increase in the student fees.” Plus, it would have entailed steep administrative costs, she said.

It is however, compulsory for all international students studying on campus to purchase health insurance.

“It is considered a part of the cost of their education,” said Mullen.

International student advisor Kasiviswanathan Muthukumarappan said he considers health insurance important for international students.

“I think it’s a good idea for international students to go for health insurance,” he said.

However, Muthukumarappan recognizes the burden of insurance.

“I think reducing the cost would be beneficial to several economically disadvantaged students,” he said.