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The Northerner

Student insurance eases health costs

Joseph Szydlowski

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How much is your eyesight worth to you? How much is your hand worth or your foot?

Under the Northern Kentucky University health insurance plan, available to students, all of your body parts have a price tag.

However, the focus of the plan is to keep students healthy, rather than react to sickness or accidents, according to the Health and Wellness Center’s Web site.

The plan, operated by Bollinger, Inc., offers NKU students enrolled in at least six credit hours the option of purchasing health insurance for $575 per year. The policy is renewed each Aug. 14 regardless of the students’ age. Semester-long programs are available for $209 and students can enroll at any time during the semester. However, the coverage will still terminate at the end of the semester regardless of the starting date.

“If you pick it up in October, it’d be the same as if you picked it up in August,” said Robin Bading, administrative secretary of the Campus Health and Wellness Center.

It also gives students the opportunity to enroll spouses, although the price increases to $2,085 each year for the couple. Children increase the amount of either cost by about $1,200.

For those fees, participants receive up to $1,000 for physician visits, with $40 covering each visit after the first. If an NKU Health Services Nurse refers the student, however, then the insurance will cover the first visit.

As far as surgery goes, the insurance includes a maximum of only $1,000 for inpatient and outpatient surgeries, with an additional $600 allotted to inpatient surgery expenses, such as X-rays and medicines, or $750 for outpatient surgery expenses.

The plan also pays up to $500 for an emergency room visit and $250 for ambulance services.

If the company pays more than $2,000, and the patient has coughed up $200 in deductibles, then the insurance covers 70 percent of all expenses up to $20,000 of all “usual and customary medical expenses,” which are services outside of the hospital that are considered reasonable under the circumstances.

The plan does not, however, offer vision or dental care, save $1,000 for injury to healthy teeth.

It also doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions if there’s been a lapse in insurance.

“If you’ve been receiving treatment for the previous six months and not had medical insurance covering it,” Bading said, “then you have to carry the coverage for six months before (the condition’s treatment) is going to be covered.”

The plan doesn’t cover elective treatments or surgeries, including elective abortions, although Bading said that isn’t unusual.

“I don’t know if you’re going to find any plans that cover elective abortions.”

The plan also excludes injuries resulting from university-sponsored events and motorcycles. Injuries from attempted suicide, drug/alcohol abuse and crimes are also not covered.

Services that can be obtained at the university are also exempt, however there is some leeway here.

“We’re not here 24/7,” Bading said. “Even though we could treat your strep throat here, if at night you’re sick, you can go to an Urgent Care.”

As for the accidental loss of limbs or eyes, the plan pays out $1,000 for both feet, hands or eyes, or any combination thereof.

Nevertheless, Bading advises students with questions to call Bollinger, who has the final word on what the plan does, and does not, cover.

“Whenever students come in, we help them interpret the plan, but encourage them to call the company,” she said.

The full contract is available at www.bollingerschools.com/nku/brochure.asp.

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The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.
Student insurance eases health costs