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ULV insurance should be optional

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editorial cartoon by Danielle De Luna

editorial cartoon by Danielle De Luna

The University’s Student Health Insurance Plan offers full-time students access to a variety of basic health services, but lacks flexibility for students who are already covered under family or personal insurance plans.

Full-time students, who are already covered by an insurance company outside of the University are locked into the $395-per-semester Student Health Insurance Plan. There is no waiver system in place that allows students to opt out. This may be a small deal to some, but for others $395 is not a small price to pay for a service they don’t use. 

SHIP gives students access to free physical exams, STD screenings, prescription services, women’s health services, minor wound care and medical supplies. However convenient this may be, many commuters will not make use of these services if they are already covered by a family insurance plan.

Other private schools like the University of Redlands have plans similar to ULV’s lock-in SHIP plan for full-time students. However, universities under the public UC system offer a great model for creating flexible coverage customized to students’ needs.

The University of California Riverside allows students who have insurance plans that fulfill their criteria and sufficiently cover health needs to opt out of the plan. For instance, coverage must be within 50 miles, cannot limit the amount it will pay for injury or illness, cannot have a deductible for prescriptions over $250 per year, cannot require out of pocket payment over $6,350, and cannot exclude pre-existing conditions.

This format allows the University system to ensure that students will be taken care of, either within or outside the University’s coverage system. This allows for flexibility for those already covered under a plan of their own, rather than charging students an extra fee for a service they will never use.

It is in the University’s best interest to ensure that students’ health care needs are fulfilled during their academic career. However, private schools like the University of La Verne and Redlands might find more luck following models found at state public school that allow the flexibility of an opt out insurance plan.

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