I gave up on the university’s health insurance plan

Columnist Elaina Williams. Photo courtesy Williams

I no longer use Florida A&Ms health insurance plan for students. I enrolled last year and it was stressful from the first day almost to the last.

If youre a Rattler, you have received those nerve-racking emails about the health insurance waiver every year. If you fail to show proof of your own insurance you will be charged over one thousand dollars by the university’s insurance plan. Unfortunately for me, last year I had to enroll in the health insurance which resulted in a terrible experience. Because of the complications with the insurance company, I and several other students had to go without outside medical attention for the majority of the semester.

According to the insurance policy through UnitedHealthcare Student Resources (UHCSR), the company has the right to investigate attendance records to verify that the student is still eligible. The full-time students must actively attend classes for at least the first 31 days after the date for which coverage is purchased. If the company discovers that policy eligibility has not been met, then its only obligation is {a} refund of premium.”

However, several students including myself had not received a refund if we were eligible nor did we receive our proof of membership.

The deadline to opt-in or opt-out of the student health insurance was on the Friday of the first week of classes last fall. Students who failed to provide health insurance documentation were automatically charged for the university-sponsored health insurance. Not long after that Friday, we should have received coverage.

The Insured Persons coverage becomes effective on the first day of the period for which premium is paid or the date the enrollment form and full premium are received by the Company,” the Student Injury and Sickness Insurance Plan underwritten by United Healthcare Insurance Company says in its documents.

Not long after the students received coverage, they should have received their membership ID cards from UHCSR. However, according to a survey taken within the university, several students received their membership ID cards in month of November, three months after the start of classes.

Danielle Steele, a political science major who took the survey, laments about the stress of the student health insurance.

I only had the student health insurance once and that was the fall semester of my junior year but I never used it and I dont think I ever received the card,” she said. ”I think dealing with the student health insurance is a stressor because we have to waive it instead of apply for it. I was charged because I missed the deadline and my parents pay my tuition. It was another payment that we didnt plan for to an already struggling family. It would be better if we could apply for it instead of having to waive it.”

Speaking to the instructor over student health services, Tanya Tatum, I understand how it could be difficult managing almost 10,000 students. However, this is the health and well-being of the students so this was an unacceptable incident.

When asked about how to avoid problems similar to mine, Tatum said its best to let her know as soon as the problem arises so that it can be resolved before it gets too far.

The best thing to do is to let me know and make us aware as soon as possible,” she said. The active date for the policy is August 15. We dont do any processing of anything until that drop-add period.”

Tatum said that a lot of times students are inputting incorrect information which then prolongs the entire process.

Its really really important that the students take the time to make sure the ID number is accurate in the portal. If the ID number is not right we have to clean all of that up. We have to do those one by one,” she said. Once thats done we can send the enrollment file over to the insurance company.”

To improvethe students experience, Tatum said that they are offering early enrollment for those who are eligible.

If there’s a situation with the student where they need something before the drop-add period and they have coverage, then we can do an early enrollment. By that next business day we’ll be able to get them a card and get them enrolled,” she said. We deliberately made the waiver deadline the same as the drop-add deadline so that students dont forget.”

One student never encountered problems with the student health insurance her whole time enrolled in it.

Kannysha Blake, a senior social work major, said it has been a great experience and she is going on her third year with the insurance.

I never really had anything to complain about,” she said. They always got me everything I needed. It was a pretty cohesive experience for me.”

Tatum encourages students to be sure to communicate any issues promptly to have pleasant experiences like Blakes.

I want students to ask whatever questions they have, but if it is something really important, then the student needs to ask the reception staff to bring it to my attention as soon as possible,” she said. We try to resolve your concerns as quickly as possible.”