Texas State’s Student Health Center undoubtedly provides a multitude of services benefiting many students on campus. However, the center continuously excludes many Bobcats from obtaining affordable health services.
The students who suffer are usually those who do not have or cannot afford insurance, those who are international or out-of-state transfers or those who are military dependents using Tricare.
Because of my father’s service in the U.S. Armed Forces, I happen to fall into the last category.
Tricare is a health care program provided by the U.S. Department of Defense Military Health System. While some retired military personnel go to other insurance companies, there are individuals who stay with this company because of its benefits.
The Student Health Center does not take Tricare. While paying for a $20 physical or flu shot is no big deal, making an appointment for a serious illness or obtaining a prescription will cost me a pretty penny. As a poor college student, I simply cannot afford to pull that money out of my wallet.
While the Student Health Center advertises affordable services for those lacking insurance, affordable to some is not affordable to all.
No prices are listed on the Student Health Center website—meaning students do not know the amount they will be required to pay unless they call or ask the front desk. In many cases, students find out after their appointment that the center will not accept their insurance and are forced to shovel out some unexpected cash.
Obtaining health services from the center is difficult for transfer students because they may be insured under different healthcare companies, depending on which region they are from. The center takes four of the most popular U.S. health insurance companies: Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, Cigna and United Healthcare.
If transfer or international students are not insured by one of these four health insurance providers, they will likely be forced to pay a good amount out of pocket if they choose to visit the Student Health Center.
Students have the option of forgoing the Student Health Center altogether and simply finding another physician, but this is problematic in itself.
Transfer students, international students or students without their own cars may find it difficult to hitch rides and get from campus to the doctor’s office.
The current Student Health Center situation is unfair for students who need medical attention but have no means of transportation, whose insurance providers are not accepted by the center and do not have the means to pay out of pocket.
Bobcats pay $53 each semester for the medical service fee. Many students are paying for a service that does not benefit them, and this must change.
The university should consider the well being of students who do not fit into the small box of health insurance providers or transportation options.
All Bobcats should be concerned when portions of our population cannot receive adequate medical care. I urge the Student Health Center to work with more insurance companies in order to consider ways in which all Bobcats can receive the healthcare they deserve.
– Sterling Wilmer is a psychology sophomore