Choosing health insurance a complicated matter



    Health insurance is an issue that BYU students will deal with the rest of their lives.

    For many students, going to college provides their first exposure to the insurance world.

    BYU requires that full-time students be covered by a health-insurance plan to protect them from financial devastation in the case of a medical emergency.

    Students, however, don’t have to be covered by BYU’s Student Health Plan.

    Many students choose not to go on the Student Health Plan and stay on their family’s plan as a matter of convenience. There are over five hundred different insurance agencies that BYU students belong to currently.

    About one-third of BYU students are on the Student Health Plan, said Diane Hunter, Business Supervisor at the McDonald Health Center.

    Why do students choose the Student Health Plan? Hunter said its deals are hard to beat. The McDonald Health Center tries to keep its rates competitive or lower than the average community rates.

    Through the Student Health Plan, the premium cost per semester for single students is $118, which is a $354 annual payment. For married students without dependents it is $182 per semester, which is $546 annually.

    Intermountain Health Care has a single plan for people 29 and under that has a $45 monthly premium, which is $540 annually. For a two-party plan, for those 29 or under it is a $87 monthly premium, which is $1,044.

    A big difference between these two plans is the catastrophic coverage. BYU’s catastrophic coverage will pay up to $90,000 per academic year after you satisfy a $37,500 annual co-payment. This policy is separate from the Student Health Plan. IHC’s plan has an unlimited catastrophic plan.

    Michael Given, a junior from West Valley, majoring in statistics, found BYU’s $30,000 maximum benefit limited. Given figures that, depending on the severity of an accident, catastrophic coverage could only cover the cost of the room in the hospital.

    He and his wife are insured through Blue Cross Blue Shield and are paying $2 more with more coverage.

    Included in the Student Health plan premium is a co-payment of $10 for each visit to the MHC during regular clinic hours and $15 for Urgent Care. Laboratory tests or X-rays ordered during that visit are included in that price.

    The MHC doesn’t restrict services to students on the plan. Under these circumstances a scheduled visit is $15 and a visit to the Urgent Care Clinic is $20. Students are then billed for lab tests and X-rays.

    Individuals needing care on Sunday or after hours need to be seen at the Utah Valley Regional Medical Center Emergency Room.

    Services provided outside the MHC are covered at 80 percent after you pay the appropriate co-payments.

    Most primary, non-hospital care including allergies, eating disorders, orthopedics and emotional and behavioral medicine are provided at the center.

    Jon Eskelsen, a senior from Redmond, Wash. majoring in political science, has been on the Student Health Plan since last fall.

    At the beginning of April this year, Eskelsen was in a biking accident and had to get stitches through the center. He said it was a relatively easy procedure. They asked him for his social security number, and if he was on the plan, and then billed him for the $15.

    “The BYU insurance, when I’ve needed it, was good and easy to use” Eskelsen said.

    A misconception about the Student Health plan is that it is provided by the McDonald Health Center. It is actually provided by Deseret Mutual, an insurance company based in Salt Lake City.

    Deseret Mutual has contracted with BYU, the MHC, and physicians and hospital in the area to provide plan benefits.

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