Insurance cards cost students too much, company says

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    By ANDREW JACKSON

    Students enrolled in the Student Health Plan may be wondering why they are not given insurance cards.

    Most health insurance companies offer cards to verify insurance coverage and to provide policy numbers and telephone numbers to process claims.

    Deseret Mutual Benefit Association is the provider of Student Health Insurance. DMBA does not offer cards because of the high student turnover rate and the cost of printing the cards, said Diane Hunter, business office supervisor for the McDonald Health Center.

    Over 10,000 students are automatically enrolled in Student Health Insurance each semester and term.

    Hunter said DMBA would have to reissue the cards four times a year, each time the policy is renewed.

    “We decided not to print the cards to keep the cost down for the students,” Hunter said.

    Brian Bingham, a program director for the Student Advisory Council, said the cost of printing the cards would be negligible at most.

    “Research done in 1997 by Ralph Simpson, a DMBA representative, disclosed that if there were to be a cost passed on to the students it would not exceed $3 per semester or term,” said Bingham, 19, a freshman from Somers, Conn., majoring in molecular biology.

    DMBA’s decision not to provide insurance cards may require students to pay for emergency room visits at the time of service, said Rachel Cotten, a DMBA representative.

    Cotten said students may be required to pay for emergency room visits if the hospital cannot contact DMBA to verify insurance coverage.

    “DMBA would reimburse the student the contracted rate if the student paid for an emergency room visit,” she said.

    Having to pay the full amount at the time of the visit may creat financial problems for students, Bingham said.

    “Students should be billed for the co-pay only. They should not have to worry about whether or not they will be directly billed and held responsible for the entire payment of services,” he said.

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