Florida State University offi cials are encouraging other universities to join them in make healthcare insurance mandatory and affordable for uninsured college students.
“We insure our cars because it’s mandatory,” said Lesley Sacher, director of FSU’s Healthcare Department.
“Why not look at our bodies the same way?”
FSU has been offering its revised Thagard Health Care Program for four years.
According to Sacher, insurance is now more affordable, offers more benefi ts and provides full coverage as long as participants are FSU students.
Thagard insurance is currently $100 a month and offers up to $200,000 worth of coverage.
The Thagard program was revised because of an increase in insurance costs and decrease in benefits.
FSU worked to make sure the Thagard program could compete with large insurance plans such as Blue Cross Blue Shield, at an affordable rate.
“Once we decided to lower our rates, we immediately received a 3 percent increase in policy purchase,” said Sacher.
Five years ago prospective students were required to have proof of health insurance in order to enroll into the university. Students could either be insured through another health care provider or purchase health care from the university if they were uninsured.
If students receive fi nancial aid, their health care premium would automatically be deducted from their funds each semester, which averaged about $400 per semester.
Students who are uninsured and do not receive financial aid are allowed to pay monthly.
“Look beyond the money and think about yourself,” Sacher said.
According to Sacher, many universities refuse to join them because they fear that an increase in tuition will lower enrollment rates.
Tanya D. Tatum, director of Florida A&M’s health department was contacted but did not return phone calls.
According to FAMU’s website a university sponsored insurance plan is available at a low cost for students taking 6 or more credit hours. However, it is not mandatory for FAMU students to have health insurance.
“All universities should adapt FSU’s health care policy,” said Jazmin Peraita, a fourth-year communications student at FSU.
According to Sacher, most students are dropped from their parents’ insurance by junior or senior year in college.
Affordable health care is what students need and deserve. Affordable health care will lessen financial burdens.
“I recall getting pregnant my junior year in college and wondering what was I going to do about health insurance,” said Jessica Brown, a fourth-year education student at FSU.
“Since I knew I would be dropped from my parents insurance. After doing research, Thagard’s health care insurance immediately became my lifesaver.”