By Karen Zamora
Texas State Student Health Center officials opted to re-contract the optional student health insurance and chose a different provider.
Health center officials switched from UnitedHealthcare to ACE American Insurance Company following the 2009 to 2010 academic year.
“We were going to have a really high premium if we stayed with UnitedHealthcare,” said Elsa Thorn, assistant director of Health Information and Quality Management at the health center. “It’s the same plan that we’ve always had in place, it’s just a different contract with a different administrator and insurance carrier.”
The switch provides students with a cheaper insurance plan and more benefits, Thorn said.
This year students who buy the insurance will pay $1,404, compared to last year’s annual premium of $1,478 for the same coverage, Thorn said. The policy benefit increased from $50,000 per injury or sickness to $100,000 per case. However, there are no optional benefits available for purchase, she said.
Included in the new policy is a continuation plan that follows the graduate six months after completed school.
“As long as they have been enrolled consecutively for three months before they graduated then they can go ahead and enroll and purchase the continuation plan,” Thorn said.
International students are automatically billed for the health center insurance plan in tuition. However, individuals may request a waiver if they have private insurance. Staff from the health center look over the students’ insurance plans and make sure benefits meet the university requirements once a waiver is completed. If they don’t qualify for the waiver, the student needs to pay for insurance.
“I had that insurance the first semester I was here. I thought it was expensive, because the insurance back in Mexico is cheaper for students,” said Selene Basurto, electrical engineering senior.
Thorn said the students who are in need of medical attention but do not have insurance and cannot pay the
$10 co-payment will not be turned away, Thorn said.
More than 350 students applied for and purchased the new student health insurance this year, Thorn said.
“We usually don’t have a huge enrollment because the majority of students have their own private insurance,” Thorn said. “The students that don’t buy it and aren’t insured either cannot afford it or don’t think they need it.”