TCU’s health plan cheaper than most

TCU’s health plan cheaper than most

School can be financially demanding even for the most prepared and budget conscious students. In addition to tuition, books, housing and food, TCU requires students taking nine hours or more to carry health insurance.

Students have the option of enrolling in the student health insurance plan offered by TCU for $340 per semester. The insurance is provided by The Chickering Group Insurance, administered by the Chickering Claims Administrators Inc. and underwritten by Aetna Life Insurance Company.

In comparison, semester rates at Southern Methodist University are $545 and are $562 at Baylor University.

Health Center administrator Marilyn Hallam said there are a number of things that make TCU’s plan less costly than those at other universities around the state.

“Universities that have medical schools tend to have higher usage of their plans and higher usage will cause premiums to escalate. Universities that have voluntary enrollment will have a more costly plan because it’s adverse selection,” Hallam said.

The location of the university may result in a more costly plan because medical costs in Dallas or Houston are higher than Fort Worth, Hallam said.

Some schools do not have a health center staffed with physicians and so most of the care for students is provided off-campus which will result in higher costs, Hallam said.

The plan is a major medical policy that provides coverage for illnesses and injuries that occur on and off campus and includes special cost-saving features to keep the coverage as affordable as possible.

“Health insurance is an expenditure students might not be able to afford to do without,” said Bob Rutledge, a north Texas insurance broker. Unexpected medical expenses could force students into bankruptcy, he said.

Rutledge advises students to evaluate several plans before choosing a provider. He said rates vary across the state, even with the same company.

“For some reason people in Houston go to the doctor more than people in Dallas/Fort Worth, so the premiums in that area are generally higher,” Rutledge said.

Consumers can do price comparisons online at sites such as QuoteInsuranceOnline.com, Rutledge said.

Students under 35 should be able to find coverage between $75 and $90 a month, Rutledge said. “These are not the cheapest policies, but they are decent mid-road plans that will protect you from bankruptcy.”

Bill Buck, an MBA student at TCU, said he signed up for TCU’s plan this semester even though he hasn’t before. The $340 fee will provide coverage through spring and summer.

Specific information on TCU plan benefits is available in brochures at the Health Center or online at http://www.chickering.com/stu_conn/schoolInfo.asp.

Insurance Rates

​School Price ​Company
Baylor $562 premium Associated Insurance
Rice $1,001 premium Columbian Life Insurance Co.
  $731 premium (optional)  
SMU $545 premium People's Benefit Life Insurance Co.
TCU $340 premium The Chickering Group Insurance
UNT $587 premium MEGA Life and Health Insurance

Premiums are for coverage in the spring and summer.