Got insurance?

By

Posted Thu, Apr 17, 2014

Doctor themed cupcakes - photo credit Clever Cupcakes, used under Creative Commons license.

Doctor themed cupcakes – photo credit Clever Cupcakes, used under Creative Commons license. *[See Link Below]

With few exceptions, the Affordable Care Act requires all U.S. residents, even busy and financially challenged college students, to have health insurance coverage or face a penalty.  Though some students may qualify for insurance under their parents’ coverage, many MSU Denver students take advantage of the school’s insurance program or other options.

If not insured elsewhere, MSU Denver students may purchase insurance through Connect for Health Colorado, Colo. Health Exchange.  The open enrollment period for 2014 ended March 31, and Nov. 15 is the start of the next open enrollment period, for coverage starting Jan. 1, 2015.

MSU Denver has its own insurance requirement for students.  The MSU Denver Insurance Policy Historical Summary and Policy Rationale, requires that all MSU Denver students taking nine or more credit hours per semester either enroll in the school’s insurance, or provide proof of acceptable outside coverage.

Robyn Morgan of the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention reviews patient records during a blood pressure screening. - Public domain photo courtesy of Public Health Image Library.

Robyn Morgan of the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention reviews patient records during a blood pressure screening. – Public domain photo courtesy of Public Health Image Library.

MSU Denver Director of Institutional Research, Ellen Boswell, provided data that showed 17,512 students registered for nine or more credit hours in fall, 2011.  MSU Denver’s common data set for the same period showed 22,751 degree seeking students, meaning that almost 77 percent of degree-seeking students qualified for coverage under the school’s plan.

However, this leaves nearly one quarter of the degree seeking student body at MSU Denver ineligible for the school’s insurance.

The Director of the Health Care Center at Auraria, Stephen Monaco was instrumental in negotiating MSU Denver’s student health insurance plan.  Monaco said MSU Denver experimented in offering voluntary insurance to students taking six to eight credit hours, about six years ago, but that resulted in higher premiums.  It was discussed again in light of the Affordable Care Act, but school officials decided against it.

“What happened was, is that that the students that were at six, seven or eight credit hours used the plan at a 50 percent higher rate than those that were credit hours or more,” Monaco said. “And what it did, it substantially increased the future premiums for the student taking nine or more credit hours then, in the future.”

Monaco said insurance was difficult to get at that time, and some people with health problems found it cheaper to come to school to get insurance, than to purchase it elsewhere.

Even today, with students taking nine or more credit hours, MSU Denver students utilize the insurance benefits at a higher rate than their peers.  But this isn’t because MSU Denver students spend more time hitting the slopes.   Instead, Monaco said this is because MSU Denver’s students are “a microcosm of society,” – more diverse, but also more economically disadvantaged than, for example, CU Denver’s student body.

In fact, Monaco said, some students coming into MSU Denver have never had health insurance before.  This means that when some students come in for wellness exams, they receive diagnoses at a higher than average rate.

Public domain photo by Petr Kratochvil - PublicDomainPicture.net

Public domain photo by Petr Kratochvil – PublicDomainPicture.net

Some of these students may qualify for Medicaid, which has open, year-round enrollment.  Monaco said there is a Medicaid information station in the health care center’s lobby.  Though the school accepts Medicaid as an acceptable alternative to the university policy, Monaco said it may be difficult for some people to access care in that system.  By comparison, MSU Denver’s policy is rated at 89 percent, just one percentage point shy of the top shelf platinum rating.

MSU Denver does not track the number of students who would qualify for Medicaid, but data shows that from 2011-12 common data set, about 70.5 percent of degree seeking students applied for need-based financial aid.  Of those found to have financial need, approximately 60 percent of the total degree seeking students were awarded need-based aid.

These figures show that costly insurance coverage may be out of reach of many MSU Denver students.

Plan carriers don’t allow faculty or staff to enroll in the MSU Denver student insurance plan, but they have their own plan and the school is working to establish criteria that may provide coverage for more part-time employees.

For more information, visit these links:

Colorado Health Exchange
http://www.cohealthinfo.com/i-need-health-insurance/

More helpful insurance info for college students

https://www.healthcare.gov/if-i-m-a-college-student-what-do-i-need-to-know-about-the-marketplace/

Find out if you may qualify for Medicaid:
http://coloradopeak.force.com/

*https://www.flickr.com/photos/clevercupcakes/4576733748/in/photostream/

, , , ,

About Melanie J. Rice

Melanie Rice is a journalism student at MSU Denver, with an emphasis on both visual and written content.

View all posts by Melanie J. Rice

One Response to “Got insurance?”

  1. Mia Szabo
    Mia Szabo Says:

    This article was incredibly informative for MSU Denver students, you packed a lot of important stuff into this article without making it too long, good job!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

*