Campus health plans step up to meet U.S. reforms

Ill womanWith passage of the Affordable Care Act on March 23, the United States healthcare system was reformed in an effort to make healthcare affordable to all. Some aspects of the health plan laws are set to go into effect later, but campus health centers across the nation are jumping the gun and requiring mandatory health care plans for the school year 2010-11. These healthcare plans are primarily for use at campus health centers.

Campus health centers are a necessity on college campuses, especially those with dorms. They help students with everything from depression and mental health issues, to the common cold and venereal diseases. Last school year, campus health centers were bombarded with swine flu. The campus health centers were instrumental in quarantining students, providing them with care, and helping to control the disease.

Students should know that they don't need to wait until they are sick to take advantage of campus health services. They also provide routine checkups, gynecological services and immunizations as needed. (Students with emergency illnesses should seek emergency care at the local hospital or urgent care center.)

These services however, come with a cost. At The University of Oklahoma, students who have paid the student health fee of $74 a semester and $37 for summer sessions are eligible for reduced rates for services received. This is a mandatory enrollment fee unless students can prove they are otherwise adequately insured and complete a waiver request application. Campus health services are provided at the college's Family Medicine Center. Services include acute and chronic care for injuries and illnesses, as well as routine preventative care and physician-ordered laboratory tests and X-rays.

The University of Toledo's mandatory health insurance policy requires students registered for six or more credit hours to maintain health insurance through UT's campus health plan. International students registered for one credit hour or more must also use the college's health insurance plan. Students may apply for a waiver if they are adequately covered by another insurance policy.

University of Arizona Campus health services also provide low-cost fee-based services. University of Arizona students are not required to have insurance, but it is strongly recommended. Regardless, campus health costs are significantly lower than what a student would have to pay at the hospital or urgent care. Here is a cost comparison chart for more information. The university does require international students on non-immigrant visas to carry student health insurance unless they qualify for an exemption.

When registering for college, students must remember to bring proof of insurance or have a waiver filled out if they wish to avoid campus health fees. While there are many similarities, each college will have a different set of rules and regulations regarding campus health services. Be sure to familiarize yourself with them before you need them.
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