CLU-funded health care plan cut

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CLU is no longer able to provide free health insurance to students as it has for nearly 10 years.

President Barack Obama’s new health care bill, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, has caused insurance companies to raise the rates on their premiums, making insurance policies more expensive.

The ability of California Lutheran University to purchase health insurance for students has now been dramatically affected as a result.

“Continuing to provide the minimum level of health insurance would have forced the university to spend about $1.2 million more than we had planned for,” said Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students William Rosser. “We would have had to revise our tuition to handle that level of an increase.”

To keep tuition rates and fees down for everyone, CLU had to make the tough decision to discontinue offering the previous United Health Care insurance plans to students.

A majority of students said they have not been personally affected by the change because they are under their parents’ health care plans.

“It’s a little odd about the health insurance now, but it didn’t affect me,” said Imelda Bealer, a transfer student at CLU. “I’m under my Dad’s plan.”

The new bill states that children can stay on their parent’s policies until the age of 26.

Several students said that they do not have health insurance through their parents and have been significantly affected by this new bill.

“I don’t have any health insurance now,” said Joseph Haiek, a sophomore at CLU. “This whole insurance thing has been a mess. I have to go to a doctor who doesn’t need to take insurance.”

Erin Szabo, who graduated last May, was shocked to hear the news.

“Since I was an older student, the school insurance was the only coverage I had and I was very grateful for that,” said Szabo. “I also think it is a shame that they don’t offer it anymore since I know there are other students just like me who need health benefits while in school.”

Rosser said that CLU strongly urges those students who do not have health insurance to look into other options such as private insurance policies.

The university also offers a health plan through United Health Care that is available for students to purchase either annually, or by Fall and Spring terms. The plans price for undergraduates are $1,462 annually, $686 for Fall, and $805 for Spring.

The Health Services at CLU has also been impacted by the change.

Health Services did not have any comment on the changes other than to refer to the website to see what specific services are offered. The office now has longer hours and has added more staff to accommodate student’s health needs.

For a office visit fee of $10, students can go to Health Services for routine visits, first aid, medication including contraceptives, counseling, and basic health procedures and labs. Medications range from $10 to $30 and most lab tests are $10.

Heather Ford
Staff Writer
Published Sept. 19, 2012