Students explore various health insurance options

Jill Fier

Jill Fier

Leaving home for college means students have many more responsibilities in their lives, including health care. Some may have to deal with it for the first time on their own.While many students are still covered under their parents medical insurance, others may have the responsibility of supplying their own coverage, if they choose to. If students do not have any coverage, there are options available.

Director of Health and Counseling Janet Mullen said that approximately 400 SDSU students this year took advantage of the Student Injury and Sickness Insurance program offered through the university. For students, the insurance costs $635 annually (including coverage during the summer), or $233 for the last semester and $220 for the spring semester.

The rate for students’ dependent children is about one and a half times that and spouses will pay nearly three times the student rates. All international students and their children are required to be covered.

Through the program, students will be covered for treatment at area preferred providers, but are usually required to pay a $100 deductible.

After that the insurance will pay for costs due to injury and sickness, but it does not cover wellness items, such as routine physicals.

Mullen said that although it does not happen too frequently, some students may be coming to the health center in need of serious medical care without any coverage.

“Unfortunately, we’ve seen students come in here and they have a very serious illness and didn’t have insurance. It’s easy to get into $10,000 of debt,” she said.

“I know for students that are already struggling with tuition costs and it’s a hard decision to make, but if something would happen to you, like you were in a car accident or some kind of illness, there are a lot of costs associated with that. If you think of it on a monthly basis, it’s a little easier to look at it. It’s cheaper to cover yourself than it is to get coverage for your car.”

The services at the Student Health Clinic that are free to students who have paid student fees include personnel costs, like examinations by a nurse practitioner, but they are responsible for paying for prescriptions and lab work.

Senior Krista Johnson and sophomores Amanda Maki and Andrea Neumann are all covered by their parents’ insurance programs, but said they would take advantage of the university’s insurance program if they needed to.

“If something did happen, then you would be covered,” Neumann said.

Both Maki and Johnson said they have never been to the Student Health Clinic, though.

Senior Holly Irwin said that she would not immediately go to the university for coverage. “I would probably research all my options or try to find a full time job that has coverage,” she said.

Mullen said that since many students have not had to deal with arranging their own health care in the past, the Student Health Clinic on the SDSU campus is a valuable option for many students.

“It’s likely that most of your health care arrangements were made by your parents. They called, made the appointment, wrote the check, did the follow up. We understand that and try to make sure that when students come here, they’re learning how to use health care appropriately.”

Mullen also said that since students are already required pay for the services through their student fees, they might as well take advantage of what there is to offer. Some services available include family planning, nutritional assistance, pregnancy counseling and testing for STDs.

When the health service is closed, students are able to call Health information at 688-6555. The call will connect them to a nurse to help the student decide if he or she should go to a local hospital.