Every day there’s a college student who has to go to the FAMU campus clinic for treatment. Many may be forced to come out of pocket for their medical costs regardless of whether they are insured.
But the question is, do they have health insurance?
There are 20 to 30 percent of FAMU students on campus who don’t have health insurance. Many are either on their parent’s insurance or don’t have insurance at all.
“Health insurance is something that is not required at FAMU. However, if you are a student from another country, you are required to have health insurance,” said S.A. Shetty, M.D., Director of Student Health Services.
According to Shetty, students from other countries have to have insurance because, “it costs about $20,000 to send them back and to pay for their hospital bills.”
Shetty said health insurance coverage also depends on where students are from. Certain policies that are used in one city may not be accepted in Tallahassee. When students come to FAMU, they are not required to have health insurance, but the Student Accident and Sickness Insurance Policy is offered to students.
“If I were to not have insurance or was on with someone else’s and it was cheaper,” said Christopher Beales, a 19-year-old freshman, “I think I would change to a FAMU insurance provider.”
Though many think health insurance is something that should be required in college, not all colleges do.
“Once a year in Florida we put in a proposal to try to get it to be required, but it doesn’t fly,” Shetty said.
There are problems the FAMU Health Clinic has to face when it comes to dealing with uninsured college students.
The clinic can’t refer an uninsured college student to a physician.
“The first thing that the physician are going to ask is what type of insurance do students have,” Shetty said.
“If a student has a seizure or has a baby on campus and they don’t have insurance. We will push them to the emergency room, but they then run into another problem; the emergency room is very expensive.”
There are several reasons why some college students don’t have health insurance.
Some students said they are on financial aid and cannot afford insurance because they are not financially stable to pay for the insurance.
“I am not able to pay for insurance because my parents are deceased,” said Tia Wilson, an 18-year-old freshman.
“So I have to suffer and I am not going to the health department,” Wilson said.
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