Seattle University recently announced that starting fall 2022, medical health insurance through the university will now not be mandated or provided for domestic students. Domestic students currently attending Seattle U will retain full coverage through summer 2022.
Prior to this announcement, student insurance was mandatory and mechanically charged to full-time, part-time, full-time equivalency, post-baccalaureate, domestic and international students. This system was labeled an “opt-out” program, where students could request an exemption in the event that they had comparable medical health insurance lively in Washington state.
Seattle U works with JCB Insurance Solutions with a purpose to provide medical health insurance to students through Aetna. Throughout the 2021–2022 school yr, the fee for every student was $2,346. This premium health coverage was the one option for college students who didn’t opt-out.
Associate Provost and Dean of Students James Willette, who released the varsity wide email on May 16, noted that the choice was a difficult one to make. Several of the aspects that influenced this decision included the number of scholars who enroll within the insurance policy, the increasing options of low-cost medical health insurance, other healthcare resources available to students in the world and the fee of next yr’s premium.
Willette noted that “Unfortunately, as a result of high utilization, the coed medical health insurance premium for next yr would have been cost-prohibitive for a lot of our students.”
Olivia Newcomb, a second-year student majoring in design, spoke about the benefits of Seattle U providing insurance through the varsity. Many Seattle U students agree that while the insurance was expensive, the advantages that it provided created a buffer of safety for college students, especially those attending from out of state.
“Even though it was expensive, it was good as an option. I feel it is helpful for possible emergencies on campus like alcohol poisoning or something like that, but shouldn’t be a requirement,” Newcomb said. “I feel that medical health insurance must have been modified to optional, but not completely discontinued to offer students the chance to have it in the event that they needed or wanted it.”
She also noted the financial difficulties the high cost of insurance created for some students.
“It each hinders and helps students. It was convenient for college students in search of medical health insurance, but requiring it may very well be difficult for college students that couldn’t afford that additional cost,” Newcomb said.
The brand new insurance policy includes different requirements for domestic and international students.
Willette explained concerning the reasoning behind the continuation of requiring international students to enroll within the insurance program through Seattle U.
“International students and undocumented students are usually not capable of enroll in medical health insurance plans on the open market,” Willette said
Naomi Yota, a world fourth-year student majoring in international business, expressed concerns concerning the effect on domestic students.
“It’s a bit concerning, considering that many students in college have minimal knowledge concerning the importance of insurance and the way it really works. The least that they need to have is guaranteed care by the faculties that they attend. It’s a bit unfair if the choice will not be even provided. Other students who’ve parents which have employment medical health insurance are lucky, but not everyone has this luxury.”
Then again, there have been some clear aspects within the required insurance that were disincentivizing for college students.
“It is certainly way more expensive than other medical health insurance provided by other schools like University of Washington or Bellevue College,” Yota said.
The Seattle U campus has seen several big shifts in health care services over the past yr, including the addition of TimelyCare, a 24/7 telehealth service that Seattle U recently partnered with.
Willette explained that the change in insurance policy was not connected to other healthcare developments on campus. Nevertheless, Seattle U desires to proceed to support and encourage students in accessing the health advantages available to them.
“We hope that students will utilize TimelyCare to satisfy a lot of their healthcare-related needs. We remain committed to promoting health and wellness and improving access to healthcare for all our students,” Willette said.
Erin Vernon, an associate professor of economics at Seattle U, noted a few of the financial barriers that will prevent young people from securing their very own insurance.
“With the national penalty for not having insurance removed as a part of the 2018 tax plan and insurance rates rising yearly at a rate twice the extent of inflation, younger people especially are deciding to risk going uninsured,” Vernon said. “Often, younger groups of individuals don’t need the identical level of health care as older demographics, and are more often constrained financially.”
While Vernon expressed her understanding of the university’s decision, she also conveyed concern about students’ foregoing insurance consequently of the non-mandatory shift.
“I do worry that students won’t take the time without the university requirement to buy certainly one of the choices available to them. I encourage those without insurance to enroll in certainly one of the plans on the Washington insurance exchange as the danger of going without medical health insurance will be catastrophic,” Vernon said.
Fortunately, there are many alternatives for college students to enroll in health coverage in Washington. This expansion of insurance options is certainly one of the principal reasons Seattle U selected to discontinue mandatory coverage provided by the varsity.
Vernon explained the many different options that recently developed consequently of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Washington State became the primary within the nation to supply a public option plan referred to as Cascade Care. Through this plan, students have multiple options for healthcare insurance and will be reimbursed through federal subsidies depending on their level of income. For college students who cannot afford those plans, other options comparable to Washington’s Medicaid program or Apple Health can be found.
“Seattle U students dropped from this plan won’t be without reasonably priced insurance options, which is more than likely a significant component of this decision,” Vernon said.
Willette also mentioned latest medical health insurance alternatives.
“The unique aim of the medical health insurance requirement and school-sponsored plan was to offer an inexpensive, comprehensive health plan that might ensure access to healthcare services for college students. There at the moment are many more options for medical health insurance through Healthcare.gov, Apple Health and other programs that didn’t exist when the unique policy was first created.”
While there at the moment are quite a lot of options for health coverage within the state of Washington, the technique of enrolling can nonetheless prove confusing.
Willette identified several resources the university created in an effort to assist guide and encourage students to explore and enroll in alternative medical health insurance.
“We understand that navigating the medical health insurance enrollment process could also be a frightening task, so we now have created a resource page at www.seattleu.edu/wellness/insurance to assist students explore available options and learn more about how you can enroll,” Willette said.
The on-campus Student Health Center and Counseling & Psychological Services will proceed to offer free and low-cost healthcare services through Seattle U. Timely Care is an open resource to students.
If students are inquisitive about learning more about healthcare options, they will schedule a consultation meeting with staff from Wellness and Health Promotion here.