Uninsured at GV will not have to buy insurance

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Samantha Belcher

Following Michigan State University’s move to mandate health insurance for students who do not already have it, controversy is stirring up on college campuses about how much students can afford to pay while also dealing with the perpetually rising cost of college.

Though many private Michigan colleges like Albion, Alma and Hope already require students to be insured, Michigan State was the state’s first public institution to apply the mandate, though a university spokesperson said about 25 percent of universities nationwide require students to have health insurance.

Mick Doxey, director of Risk Management at Grand Valley State University, said GVSU has not considered mandating health insurance.

“We recommend that (students) look at their own coverage before coming,” Doxey said.

As a result of the new mandate, students at Michigan State will be enrolled in the Aetna plan, requiring them to pay $940 for the spring semester and $1,500 in tuition costs for the entire year if they are not insured.

State Rep. Kevin Cotter (R-Mt. Pleasant) told the Detroit Free Press that the costs could total up to an additional $6,900 for health insurance costs at the end of the average four-year career at the university.

GVSU offers health insurance to students through Colombian Life Insurance Company for about $600 per year, according to Student Assurance Services. About 300 students have purchased insurance through the university plan.

Although health insurance could be expensive for students, Doxey said, it could be even more costly for students to not have insurance if they get injured or sick and have to pay out of pocket.

Heather Rhodes, manager of the Health Center at GVSU, said the center assists students even if they are uninsured.

“If you don’t have it (insurance), we work with you to fit the needs,” Rhodes said.

She said the average visit costs about $45 to $100, depending on how many tests are needed. About 150 to 200 students come into the health center weekly.

Rhodes said not many students come into the Health Center without insurance, but extended payment plans are available. Metro Health, the center’s parent hospital, also gives a 40 percent discount for students so they pay the same price as a student with insurance.

Rhodes said having insurance helps students because they tend to be exposed to many people and diseases on campus. The most common ailment students come to the health center with are acute sicknesses such as sore throat or pink eye.

For more information on the GVSU student health insurance, visit www.gvsu.edu/studenthealthinsurance.

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