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Ohio State expands health coverage plan

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The semester conversion has brought many changes to Ohio State. While many students choose to opt out of student health coverage, the annual plan has been extended without the option to nix summer coverage.
The OSU Comprehensive Student Health Insurance Plan yearly rates are the same under semesters as they were for quarters – $2,300 for domestic students and $2,140 for international students.
“I think overall, we’re very pleased that we were able to hold the line on increases this year,” said Dave Isaacs, communications and media relations manager in the Office of Student Life. “With health insurance costs going up, we’re happy to have no increase in cost.”
According to the 2012-2013 Student Health Insurance Plan, there are medical, vision, dental and prescription drug benefits to help students. The medical, vision and prescription drug benefits for students are processed internally by Student Health Services.
Despite costs staying the same, there has been one major change in insurance coverage.
Under the quarter system, students had the option to get off-term health insurance, which happened when a student took a term off, just graduated or dropped below the minimum credit requirement. Students also had the option to opt out of coverage for the summer term.
But under the semester system, students who opt for university health insurance must pay for the entire year, there is no summer opt-out option.
According to the OSU’s Student Health Insurance website, health insurance costs for domestic students are $1,150 for Fall Semester, and $1,150 for the Spring and Summer semesters combined.
The cost per quarter last year was $575 for domestic students and $535 for international students, according to the website.
“The concept is to ensure continuous coverage, and for the majority of students on our plan, it’s important for them to have no break in coverage,” said Diane Plumly, director of Student Health Insurance.
The idea for the policy came several years ago, Plumy said, but the university decided to wait for the semester conversion to implement it.
Plumly said many problems arose from students needing medical services during the summer months but not having health insurance coverage.
Plumly also said a large number of students who graduate in spring needed coverage during the upcoming two or three months until they got employment, and the new policy enables those students to have coverage.
“It was really done for the convenience of the students,” Isaacs said. “Some summer jobs offer summer insurance, some don’t. It really came to us because it was proving to create problems for students.”
Students who transfer to OSU and start classes over the summer can receive coverage during that time as well, costing $575 for domestic students and $535 for international students, according to the Student Health Insurance website.
Plumly said students also will have an easier time managing their coverage because they won’t have to deal with selecting the fee as often since there are fewer academic terms.
“I feel the students will see it as an easier process,” Plumly said. “They don’t have to worry or have to deal with the fee four times a year, so I think students are going to be more satisfied with it.”
Some students, such as Terry LeMaster, a first-year in exploration, like the idea of yearlong coverage.
“It’s great to know that you’re covered, that way you don’t have to worry about it time and time again,” LeMaster said.
Aaron Berry, a second-year in pre-business, said he doesn’t have OSU’s student health insurance this year, but last year was a different story.
“I had it last year and I did opt out in the summer, and it turns out three weeks out of school, I hit black ice and totaled my truck, so that fell back on me,” said Berry. “If I would have had it the whole time, this would have kicked in and helped cover more.”
“You don’t think you’ll need it but you’d be surprised at how it can just jump up and something happens” Berry said.

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