Nationwide changes to student health care coverage
Pacific Lutheran University, like all colleges and universities across the nation, faces significant challenges in helping students and their families find affordable student health care – both on campus and from local providers. Beginning this fall, the new national health care law limits us to three options.
- University-Provided Student Health Insurance
New national regulations for student health insurance require that all plans provide increasingly higher minimum coverage limits, next year and in years to come – from $10,000 this year to $100,000 next year and $500,000 the year after. As a result, while some universities will continue to offer student health insurance as they have in the past, the rates for such insurance will now be much higher. The most affordable rate we could find for PLU students was $1,600 for the 2012-2013 year. And there will be significant cost increases in subsequent years as the national law requires that policies cover additional benefits each year. We have decided that such a high cost now, and large annual increases in future years, rules out this option. We will not offer student health insurance.
- No Student Health Insurance, No Supplemental Plan
As a result of the new regulations, some universities will simply stop providing student health insurance and will not offer a plan designed to supplement family health insurance. We have ruled out this option as it is not in the best interests of our students and the campus community. Research indicates that health complications can be a detriment to student academic success, and that access to timely and affordable health care is a key element in student persistence to graduation. And of course, the campus as a community is better protected from incidents such as communal outbreaks of infection when all members have access to and utilize health care.
- The Wellness Access Plan
While PLU will no longer offer Student Health Insurance (nor require it), our response to the new health care coverage realities is to provide the Wellness Access Plan, a supplemental plan that is designed to increase health care access and affordability for all undergraduates. For students who do not have health care insurance, the plan will help pay out of pocket costs. For students who do have health care insurance under a parent or guardian's policy, an employer's policy, or an individual policy, that plan should be kept. A student’s health care policy and the Wellness Access Plan will work together to reduce costs and provide access to needed health care services.