To say the year 2020 was unexpected is an understatement. The COVID-19 global pandemic disrupted every industry and ecosystem, accelerating change to meet increasingly urgent emerging needs.
In-person interaction-heavy environments like colleges and universities felt the unprecedented risks of COVID-19 acutely. Suddenly, student health and wellness was thrust to the forefront of campuses across the country. Most colleges and universities are continuing to navigate these new challenges on campus.
The American College Health Association (ACHA)'s survey, "The Impact of COVID-19 on College Student Well-Being," found rates of depression sharply increased from fall 2019 to spring 2020, and more students than ever reported experiencing poor mental health. According to the New York Times, as of December 2020, more than 397,000 COVID-19 cases and 90 deaths on campuses were reported since the pandemic began.
With student mental and physical health increasingly at risk, many campuses are asking: how can we better address our student health and wellness needs?
Start the Student Wellness Conversation Here…
If your campus has no student health insurance program (SHIP) or limited benefits, you need to start with the basics. Ask yourself the following questions to get a picture of your current and future needs:
1.) What are our campus demographics (gender, age, home zip/country, etc.)? You need a clear picture of your campus demographics to gain quotes from health insurance providers who can offer cost-effective coverage for your campus. Gathering quality data is the first step to assessing and satisfying your campus health needs.
2.) Do we want to offer a hard waiver or mandatory health insurance option for our student population?
This essentially asks whether you want students to be automatically enrolled in a campus health insurance plan (mandatory) or if you'd like to offer students the opportunity to provide proof of health insurance and, if not provided, enroll them in a campus plan (hard waiver).
Your approach may depend on your student population's current coverage status, campus size or other factors. An experienced consultant can help you navigate your options to determine the best path for your unique needs.
3.) What services do we offer and how do we charge students for these services? For many campuses, the Campus Health Center provides certain services to students. Some campuses bill students via ledger, while others do not. Some campuses want all health claims to go through a campus insurance provider, while others only run claims for services outside the campus health center. Work with a quality consultant to determine what works best for your campus environment.
4.) What are the needs of each student population group on campus? Depending on the campus, you may have international students, graduate students, student-athletes or a large commuter population, among other significant student groups. How are each student group's unique needs the same or different from others, and how should you structure coverage and services to meet those needs?
…And Upgrade to Serve Today's Emerging Needs
If your campus already has a student health insurance program in place, but COVID highlighted its gaps, consider the following questions:
1.) Do our students understand our student health insurance program (SHIP) and how to optimize its benefits?
More often than not, students and their parents are confounded by insurance jargon and don't understand what campus plans can offer. Leverage resources to create a communication and education strategy.
An experienced consultant can help identify modern tools and tactics, like gamified learning, to increase understanding and awareness. HORAN's recent case study showed that students’ overall health insurance knowledge increased by 116% thanks to a gamified learning approach.
2.) How easy is it for students to access the health care they need?
The COVID-19 shutdowns forced many to leverage telehealth and localized care options for continued care. Your campus can expand student care access by covering telehealth visits and offering contactless over-the-counter drug access via convenient on-campus kiosks among other innovations.
3.) Are our current health resources connected?
Many campuses experienced the pain of siloed communications during the early days of the pandemic. When all your resources aren't working together, you lose precious time and efficiency. An on-site coordinator or centralized health office can connect all your campus health resources to streamline wellness efforts.
4.) Do we understand and serve our campus needs?
A recent HORAN student survey found that more students (54%) were interested in preventing or mitigating chronic diseases, like diabetes and high blood pressure, than nutrition and exercise (23%). Stop assuming your campus' needs and focus on gaining real data to understand how to serve your student population best.
Let HORAN Campus Health Solutions Cover Your Student Health and Wellness Needs
No matter where you are in your campus health plan, you need the best resources and partners to get you where you need to go. At HORAN Campus Health, our approach is rooted in engaging students to proactively manage their physical, mental and behavioral health through a customized health plan and expert resources.
We work alongside campuses to reduce administrative burden and time, increase efficiency, lower cost and improve plan engagement. See what we've done with our current partnerships here.
Let us help make your campus a happier, healthier place. Get in touch with Chris Mihin, Vice President and Managing Principal of HORAN Campus Health, at ChrisM@horanassoc.com or 513.702.3707 or fill out a simple contact form to get more information.