By Alejandro Cortez
April 16, 2014
With the reality of rising tuition costs for students at Dominican next fall, full-time undergraduate students will also be required to have health insurance or fork over a hefty fee to the university.
According to the administration, Dominican will be requiring undergraduates to show proof of health insurance in order to be enrolled in classes. Starting Sept. 1, students who do not provide proof of outside insurance will be automatically enrolled in Dominican’s health plan and charged $925 for the fall semester. Should students not opt out of Dominican’s health insurance plan, they will be accessed a fee of $1,125, leading students to owe $2,050 for the academic year.
On April 4, Dean of Students Trudi Goggin sent out an email to undergraduates reminding them of the new health insurance requirement. In her email, Goggin explained that undergraduate students who are enrolled full-time with at least 12 credit hours will need to show proof of insurance or cannot attend classes.
For the past few years, Dominican has encouraged students to take action and apply for health insurance plans with either outside companies or through Dominican’s insurance plan.
Elizabeth Ritzman, director of the Wellness Center, said that the added cost for next year is not meant to be an additional burden on students, but rather meant to work in their favor.
“We didn’t want to impose more costs and have students pay more for tuition,” Ritzman said. “But, we are caring for the student’s health.”
Ritzman also said that many local and national colleges do not offer an affordable healthcare plan like Dominican offers.
In an article written by Robin Wagner for the Chronicle of Higher Education, she states that when a college campus allows for students to be uninsured, costs arise overall for both academic and student programs and students may even drop out of school after facing unanticipated health costs.
“Even when a student does have insurance, a health problem could pose a heavy burden,” Wagner writes. “Health plans priced for penny-pinching international students and others with scarce resources offer a low premium cost in exchange for high out-of-pocket payments. In such a situation, a relatively straightforward medical issue such as day surgery to repair a knee injury could result in co-insurance and deductible charges to the student of more than $1,000.”
With the idea that college students are at risk of paying thousands of dollars due to an injury not covered by medical insurance, it would seem that more students would want to be insured. However, some students are not so enthusiastic that they will incur additional costs from mandatory insurance.
“Trying to afford insurance on top of our regular expenses is adding an additional stress,” junior Claudia Ramirez said. “It’s simply more feasible to pay the fine at the end of next year, than to scramble to find more money for an insurance plan every month. The new healthcare requirement has helped many without a doubt, but it has also worked to highlight the multiple barriers preventing many individuals from obtaining access to healthcare.”
For further information about Dominican’s health insurance plan or who to contact with questions, students are urged to visit DominicanInsurance.com.