Mortar boards have been thrown, tassels moved over and diplomas mailed. As graduates enter the “real world” they will most likely look for jobs, places to live and health insurance. Going to the Health Center as soon as the first signs of a cold hit will no longer be an option.
A brief survey of 20 students indicated that all of them had health insurance and none paid for it themselves. Half of these students had not given any thought to health insurance and admitted to having no idea how much it costs.
Part of the reason that there is such ignorance when it comes to health insurance could stem from the fact that for most students the Health Center is adequate.
“I know that I am on my parent’s health insurance but I really don’t know that much about it,” mechanical engineering freshman Kyle Suguitan said.
Each student pays $87.58 per quarter in health fees, which covers basic coverage at the on-campus health center. “Basic coverage” at the student health center is similar to services provided by a primary care physician.
Many students don’t have all the information regarding health insurance. While the University of California system requires health insurance for all students, the California State University system does not (with the exception of International students). The health fee paid as part of tuition and fees covers student’s access to the Health Center. However, this only covers basic care.
“Let’s say you hurt yourself on the weekend … need an MRI … need to see a specialist … or need a service the Health Center doesn’t offer then this service (student health insurance) would help you out,” PULSE office manager Cindy Martinez said.
Last year biology sophomore James Moody had a staph infection. Because it was the weekend Moody had no choice but to go to the Sierra Vista Emergency Room and paid $150 per visit even though he had health insurance.
Some students may have health insurance but not all of them know the specifics of their policy.
One local health insurance broker, Susan Polk, says that in order to be covered by a parent’s policy they must be enrolled in a minimum number of units (12). Upon graduating or turning a certain age (23 or 25, depending on provider) young adults must obtain their own policy.
“More likely the parents will call asking about insurance for graduate (or student) rather than the graduate (or student) themselves,” Polk said.
An average health insurance plan for a 23 to 25-year-old living in San Luis Obispo would cost between $82 and $150 a month. This would include medical, dental and vision care. The deductible, the amount of expenses that must be paid by the customer before an insurer will cover expenses, would range from $5,000 to $1,500 with these plans.
These numbers could very well be changing depending on which of the three health care proposals passes.
The single payer plan, which is an implemented tax and government would pay for health care, would mean that graduates would not have to plan for health insurance. The public option plan, which is a optional government offered health insurance package, would mean graduates would have a new option when deciding on health insurance but would not be required to have it. The government mandated plan ,which means people would be required to have health insurance, would mean that graduates would not have the option of whether or not to purchase health care. They would be required to have it and be responsible for finding a policy.
The single payer and public option are likely to not be included in the final version of the bill for health care reform.