College Student Health Insurance Mandate at the University of Maryland

September 2, 2009

College student health insurance is required at the University of Maryland for incoming freshman and transfer students for the fall 2009 semester.

The university says that sometimes when college students are faced with medical bills, they often quit school to work full time to pay off the debt.

“There are occasions where students drop out because they have to go work to pay their medical bills,” says Dr. Gail Lee, clinical director at the University Health Center. “People without health insurance tend to let problems get really serious before they see someone. Now, if patients are sick and they really need a specialist, we know that they can see one.”

The university has offered optional insurance for years–taken advantage of by athletes–even though they point out that 30 percent of U.S. colleges required it for the 2007 to 2008 school years, according to a federal study.

The University of Maryland will offer college student health insurance via United HealthCare. Those students who do not show proof of insurance will be automatically enrolled in the school’s program for $1,168. This fee will be covered by financial aid for those who qualify. Upperclassman can also take advantage of this insurance.

“I hear of more and more schools requiring it,” says Dr. James Turner, executive director of student health at the University of Virginia. “Fundamentally, it comes down to risk management. We generally deal with a very healthy population. But more and more non-traditional-aged students are coming to our campuses, often with pre-existing medical conditions.”

The university has perfect timing with President Obama’s health care proposal to congress, even though only 5.5 percent of college students were uninsured last year, compared to 16 percent of the general population.

Some colleges and universities offer college students health insurance via the on-campus, health facilities and the price is included in student activity fees.

Read more about the college student health insurance mandate here:

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