College Students Health Insurance
Since 1991 several private and State Universities have requires students to enroll in their medical insurance plans. University administrators believe this is a way to increase student retention because if all students are covered it is less likely that students will be unable to complete their studies due to illness or injuries. Eight States actually require that students either enroll in the Universities health insurance plan or prove that they have insurance if they are to attend an institute of higher learning.
Students and administrators at the Utah State University are among the latest to take up the debate of mandatory medical insurance for students attending the State University. Leaders among the student government are for a proposed change in the Board of Regents that would mandate medical coverage. Currently enrolment in the plan at USU is optional. Director of Student Health at USU, Jim Davis said the mandate would help those USU students confronted with illness or accidents, who now would no longer have to be faced with the choice to leave school, or to work to pay for the high cost of medical bills. Students would also not have to make the dreadful choice of not taking medical treatments or preventative healthcare measures because of their lack of medical insurance or the ability to pay.
Michelle Lundberg, Academic Senate President at USU is concerned about the burden of additional costs mandating participation in the health insurance program could place upon students and their families. Currently the USU Student Health Plan costs single students approximately $2200.00 per year and Married students over $7000.00 a year. While it is expected that the increase in enrolment should the mandate go through will bring the costs of premiums down - still it can be a source of significant additional costs to students already paying high tuitions and room and board.
However, other universities in Utah have proven that affordable health coverage for students is possible even when mandated. Brigham Young University has mandated student health coverage since 1989, and the cost per student per year there is still only 400.00, said Student Health Director Rulan Barlow.