TCU raises health insurance cost for next year

Health insurance prices will increase by 14 percent next year for students using the university-offered insurance plan. The price will rise from $483 a semester to $552, according to a release from the Health Center.Marilyn Hallam, assistant to the director of the Health Center, said the price increase is due to rising health costs in the community. She also said the coverage is the same as last year: The plan still carries a $500,000 policy maximum and still has an out-of-pocket pay system.

An out-of-pocket system means patients pay for health care and prescriptions and file claims to the insurance company, which later reimburses them. Many health insurances pay up front, eliminating this initial cost.

Laura Crawley, assistant dean of Campus Life for health promotions, said this out-of-pocket type of coverage, coupled with the price increase, could cause financial strain.

“Campus Life routinely deals with mental and physical illnesses,” Crawley said. “Prescriptions, especially for mental illnesses, are extraordinary. A lot of people can’t afford to pay $1,000 up front and then wait to be reimbursed.”

Crawley said the increase has the potential to negatively impact students in other ways – not just with the out-of-pocket system.

“Some students are supporting families, and a $20 difference in their monthly budget really affects them,” Crawley said.

Andrew Wilfred, a junior finance, accounting and economics major, uses the insurance and said the cost does not closely affect him as an international student.

“It’s still a reasonable price and it’s convenient, especially for international students, so we don’t have to go out and find our own insurance,” Wilfred said. “Besides, insurance has been rising anyway, so it’s not really a surprise.”

Alicia Michaelsen, a freshman nursing major, said she disagrees with the increase.

“Depending on the student’s income, I honestly think it will affect students,” Michaelsen said. “Some people here do have money, but there are a lot of us who don’t. I’m probably going to try to find something cheaper over the summer.”

Hallam said compared to other universities, however, the insurance TCU offers is reasonably priced.

“As far as student plans go, SMU, Baylor, Rice and other comparable universities are more expensive than our policy,” Hallam said. “It still can be a good deal.”

Students registering in April and May can elect or waive the insurance policy by July 5.