OP: Wellness Center disservices students with lack of insurance options

8 October 2019

Annika Schmidt

[email protected]

For many college students, health insurance is not a big priority. Students may feel that it is unnecessary or are still at an age where they are covered by their parent’s health insurance plan.

The truth is, without insurance, a visit to a regular doctor would put a dent in one’s wallet. The health services on campus, however, claim to be affordable to accommodate students who do not have health insurance, but they lack insurance options.

The Wellness Center located within the Rec Center offers basic tests and services. It is conveniently located, not difficult to get an appointment and accessible for students who have paid the student fee to the Wellness Center. For students with busy lives, this is ideal.

The prices, however, prove to be less cost efficient for those who have access to private health insurance.

The Wellness Center does not bill to insurance. The only time they accept insurance is for labs sent to other locations for testing. This means that students must pay for their visit out of pocket.

They advertise a $20 co-pay. I believe this is a reasonable price, however one also must pay for each additional service, which is not advertised. For example, a strep test costs $15. So, the test fee in addition to the $20 copay robs you of a grand total of $35.

A student is, of course, being treated by healthcare professionals so the money is going towards a good cause, but it is still a higher amount than one would pay at a regular practice with insurance. At a general practitioner, a patient would be charged a similar copay and the rest would be billed to insurance. Students end up paying a lot more on campus than off.

This is a massive disservice to students. While not all students have insurance, those who do are at a disadvantage when visiting the Wellness Center on campus when they already pay for each service.

By accepting insurance, the Wellness Center would not, in theory, impact students without insurance.

Both the CU Denver and CU Boulder campus Wellness Centers not only accept insurance, but also allow students to sign up for student health insurance through the school, which UCCS does not provide this opportunity. If a student at either of these two CU schools has private health insurance coverage, the medical services will file claims with the insurance carrier.

Students should have access to those services here on the UCCS campus to not only save them money, but also preserve a healthy campus community. By offering an affordable and accessible targeted health insurance, more students would take advantage of it, therefore increasing the number of students on campus with healthcare coverage. Simply accepting private health insurance at our Wellness Center would immensely benefit the community.

I have seen UCCS students who do not have health insurance avoid going to the doctor or even the hospital when they needed treatment because of the cost associated with a visit. The students in our community should not have to be faced with this kind of decision when it comes to their health.

UCCS is not doing students any favors by making access to healthcare on campus more expensive for students who have health insurance and not offering health insurance to students through the school. Since other schools in the CU System have taken steps towards bettering students’ healthcare, what is keeping UCCS from doing the same?