Friday, February 22, 2008

U of M Student Insurance

Welcome to the blog for Journalism 5155- Health and Medical Journalism.

We are going to be taking a look at the plight of uninsured 20-somethings. This is often a transitional time for many people; either starting/graduating college or entering the workforce full-time. With so many other life pressures, young adults often forget about health plans. A mentality of invincibility can be detrimental for this demographic. They'll often take risks but have no health insurance to cover any accidents, illnesses or necessary tests etc.

The University of Minnesota has a policy that all students must have health insurance in order to register for classes at the U. Students have the option to use their own medical plan or purchase one from the institution. To kick off our blog, let’s check out what students have to pay to get insurance from the U of M.

A basic coverage plan costs a U student $ 782.00 each semester, according to the Student Health Benefit Plan website.
( To qualify for U coverage, a student has to be registered for 6 or more credits. The program is run through Blue Cross/ Blue Sheild and offers students a $3 million maximum coverage limit. The student deductible is capped at $2,000.

If a student goes to Boynton Health Services on campus, they can receive a wide variety of services with no co-pay.

However, if the student needs further care they can go to a Boynton “participating provider”. Bu then the student is responsible for paying 20% of the cost. Still, the student will only be expected to pay the maximum $2,000 out of pocket, and then their health plan will pick up the rest of the cost.

All University students pay a student service fee. This fee qualifies all students for a wide variety of “free” services provided by Boynton Health Services. From their website this list includes;

-Gopher Quick Clinic
-Primary Care Clinic appointment
-Urgent Care visit
-Annual eye exam (excludes exam for contact lenses)
-Women's Clinic appointment
-Pregnancy testing and counseling
-Smoking cessation coaching
-Lab tests (excluding fertility tests and blood typing)
-X-rays and minor surgical procedures
-Sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment
-Medical Information Nurse
-Specialty Clinic visit
-HIV testing and counseling
-STI testing and treatment
-Allergy shots (does not include serum)
-Nutrition counseling
-Select health promotion activities
-Birth control classes
-Stress management workshops (Tai Chi, Yoga, and Pilates)
-Financial /debt management counseling (first visit)

The 2007-08 student service fee is $324.10. The fee is broken down to benefit student groups, student legal services, Boynton and more. By far, Boynton gets the biggest chunk of the fee at 108.81 per student. To find out how the student service fee breaks down go here-

But wait- there’s more!

Students in health-related programs have access to a separate insurance plan. Students in Medical School, the Schools of Dentistry, Nursing, Pharmacy or Public Health, the programs in Clinical Laboratory Science, Mortuary Science, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Dental Hygiene or Veterinary Medicine need special health care, according to the U.

The Academic Health Center Student Health Benefit Plan website ( states that:

“AHC students have demonstrated a unique and serious need for enhanced benefits to the existing University Sponsored Health Benefit Plan (SHBP). You are often at locations other than on campus and your out-of-classroom experience puts you at risk for infectious diseases such as influenza, hepatitis B, HIV, and other occupational health risks.”

This plan costs AHC students $1,008.00 per semester. Summer coverage runs about $497.00. The program is also ran through Blue Cross/ Blue Shield and offers students a $3 million maximum coverage limit. Like the basic student plan, the AHC student deductible is capped at $2,000.

The numbers I gave are for single students- the semester cost goes up if registered students would like to add a spouse or children onto their plan.

While the cost seems decent for the basic SHBP it breaks down to about $130.33 a month for students. That could take quite a chunk from a student’s budget- especially if they are paying for their tuition, rent, food etc.

That’s all for now but come back for more posts from the group and our guest bloggers!

- Alex

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