Authored by HORAN Campus Health Solutions
University health plans are becoming more important for students. Health and wellness are critical for academic success, and insured students tend to be healthier than their uninsured counterparts.
Student health insurance plans offered through colleges and universities provide benefits that are more affordable for the average student, compared to comparable plans on the open market. Sadly, not all student health insurance options are created equal.
How does your campus healthcare program stand up?
To be competitive in today’s market, your student health plan should provide a variety of important benefits, including affordability, comprehensive plans designs, and a wide network of providers to give coverage to students regardless of their distance from campus or from home.
And that’s just the beginning. Here are some other points of comparison you may want to think about if you want to offer the best university health insurance program.
Health Insurance Standards Increasing for University Students
Students and their families have done their homework, and many are cognizant of what is available with regard to campus healthcare. With rising health insurance costs around the nation, parents of college-age students are comparing and contrasting the plans that will keep their children healthy and in school.
Characteristics of the Best Student Health Insurance Plans
Step right up and measure your campus healthcare program against the following checklist. The ideal program will be attractive enough to draw new students to your college or university while providing students with a seamless experience whenever health care is needed. Here are some other points to think about as you conduct your campus health insurance comparison.
Competitive healthcare plans now offer 100% coverage for preventive care when an in-network provider is chosen.
Student health insurance plans obtained through colleges and universities often give benefits that are more affordable than comparable plans on the ACA open market. Many of these plans go for $2,000 to 4,000 per academic year, according to the New York Times.
Wide Network of Providers
A sizable number of health plans offered by today’s colleges include a national network of healthcare providers and pharmacies. The policies provide coverage regardless of the distance from campus or from home.
Many plans are aligned with the university’s Student Health Services, allowing for on-campus care. Students can also be referred to appropriate in-network providers off-campus for more extensive or continuous care.
Mental health issues are on the rise for many college students. Some insurance providers offer health plan access to expert behavioral health support for college students. These services help students manage stress and other common problems that detract from their wellness and academic success.
The best university health plans are customized to meet the needs of the campus’s student body as a whole. The policies provide a wide range of services, such as preventive care, doctor visits, accidental injury, hospitalization, outpatient surgery, diagnostic benefits, and prescription drug coverage.
A good health care plan for universities and colleges would allow students to receive discounts on a range of health and wellness services, as well as products. Examples include savings on services like fitness club memberships, dental care, nutritional counseling, vitamins, and health-related books.
Last but not least, many campus insurance plans give students the ability to phone doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals with no need for a consulting fee. This gives students round-the-clock access to diagnostics for minor illnesses, such as allergies and sore throats. Doctors can also prescribe medications, which can be sent to the student’s pharmacy of choice.
Are Your University Healthcare Coverage Options Lacking?
How do you feel about your college or university insurance program after reading that list? Do you see holes in your program that could be patched up with more attractive offerings?
A competitive student health care plan would offer more comprehensive coverage than most HMO or PPO plans found on the ACA marketplace.
How to Improve Healthcare Coverage Options for College Students
Make Your Student Health Insurance Plan Available to All
Recent studies show that 5% of all students are uninsured. While college-age students tend to be healthier than the general population, students also face significantly higher risks.
Young adults are more at risk for motor vehicle accidents, chronic illnesses, and mental illnesses. Not having insurance can place students and their families at risk financially. Students enter college to improve their earning potential and future prospects. With past hospital and doctor bills being the leading cause of bankruptcy, a student health plan can help students escape the burden of medical debt.
This is where your student health insurance offerings can save the day by making your program available to everyone including:
- On-Campus students
- Online learning students
- International Students
- Students with Disabilities and Pre-Existing Conditions
- Commuter Students
- Traditional Students
- Non-Traditional Students
Everyone should have access to the campus health program, with the right policy providing comprehensive services according to the student body’s circumstances and health care goals. The right program will also be affordable for students with easy access to care.
Educate Students About Campus Health Insurance
The 2020/2021 academic year saw 20.8 million college students enrolling in colleges and universities nationwide. Many of these students were leaving home and enrolling in higher education for the first time.
With the many health policy changes that took place because of the (Affordable Care Act) ACA a decade ago, there is still confusion surrounding student health insurance plans. Parents and their children would appreciate a resource that points them in the right direction and helps them select the most advantageous student health policy.
Analyze the Data and Set Healthcare Goals
To patch up all the holes in your health insurance program, look for opportunities for improvement and set baseline goals. Take a look at statistics and trends from health records, studies, and other data resources to identify key areas where benefits can be added, and improvements made.
One Ohio University did just that and saw a 300% increase in student health plan enrollment over three years. They also managed to reduce student premium costs by $650,000 over two years.
Make Health Care a Campus-Wide Effort
Students have a lot on their plates with multiple classes and countless hours of studying, not to mention living out the college experience. As students, their time is poorly served trying to navigate the often-complex web of bureaucratic processes that permeate many college health insurance programs. An efficient, multi-department, coordinated student health plan is more likely to contribute to a student’s academic success.
To have a coordinated program means that students will have little trouble getting a telemedicine consultation from a doctor because of a sore throat. They will also have access to bone mending services and surgical procedures without having to incur exorbitant medical bills.
To make this level of care possible, all college or university staff should understand that health is a priority for all students. The right college health insurance program brings together Residence Life departments, Recreation and Wellness Centers, Counseling Centers, Centers for Diversity and Inclusion, and Academic Emergency Services, along with Financial Aid, to ensure all have access to the best care possible.
Health care should be seamless for all students, and the right campus insurance program makes that possible.
More than 70 million college students and recent graduates had difficulty finding affordable health insurance, according to a recent poll. These students would have benefitted from an accessible health program offered by their college or university.
With students back on campus post-COVID-19 and seeking physical and mental health care, the need for comprehensive student health insurance is greater than ever.
U.S. college students face significant challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including housing and food insecurity, lack of social connectedness, and financial hardships. There is also uncertainty about the future, not to mention a lack of education surrounding access to support systems like a student health program.
Ready to Implement a Student Health Plan for Your Campus?
When your student health insurance program is non-existent or lacking, HORAN offers a simplified campus health plan that is sure to meet your goals.
HORAN’s Campus Health solutions are:
- Personalized to your campus needs
- Centered on people with experts who focus on your students’ health goals
- Focused on taking the proper steps to create lasting change
- Designed to decrease costs and increase enrollment
- A must for reducing administrative burden while improving campus coordination
- Backed by real data with proven results for your unique campus
When working with HORAN, you have access to a proprietary network of partnerships, allowing us to meet your needs with world-class innovation.
This is your opportunity to make yours one of the healthiest colleges or universities in the country. Bring long-term results to your campus by choosing us as your university health insurance consultant.
Visit our Campus Health webpage to fill out a simple contact form or get in touch with Chris Mihin, HORAN Campus Health Vice President and Managing Principal, at ChrisM@horanassoc.com or 800-544-8306.