Students without health insurance now have the option of choosing between two different health insurance plans sponsored by the Human Resources Benefits Office.
In an e-mail and letter sent to Temple students, the school announced it is providing tuition-billed health insurance to students. The six-month group rate running from March to August is provided by Keystone Health Plan East and Compselect Blue Cross/Blue Shield. The plan can be added to students’ tuition bills when they graduate.
The letter also informed students that although the student health fee allows them to visit doctors in Student Health Services at low or no cost, health insurance is still necessary to cover expenses for lab tests, X-rays, prescription medications, referrals or hospitalizations.
“There has been an increase [in student health insurance enrollment],” said Velda Jones, Temple’s Senior Benefit Counselor. “Students seem to like it better, because this way they don’t have to have a check or money order available right now.”
The decision to implement the tuition-based billing of the health insurance was made as “a joint effort between the Human Resources Department and Student Financial Services,” Jones said.
It is also a way of making the departments deal more efficiently with the paperwork they were receiving.
“The departments couldn’t handle the volume of checks that we were getting, so it’s easier to bill [students] on their tuition account,” Jones said.
Trish Stroman, a Human Resources representative, was one of many people who attended a Feb. 13 information and registration session in Ritter Hall. A representative from Keystone Health Plan East was also on hand to help students with questions.
According to Jones, approximately 600 new students have enrolled in the tuition-billed insurance since it was implemented.
The Keystone Plan offers both in-network and out-of-network service. In-network care requires a referral from the student’s primary care physician. The physician is selected during the enrollment process from a physician directory provided by the companies.
In-network care has100 percent reimbursement, with the exception of a $10 co-payments for regular doctor’s office visits. Co-pay services for Keystone also cover specialty, mental health and emergency room care. Other co-pays include $240 for hospital admission and $100 for outpatient surgery.
The Compselect Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan offers less coverage: The company covers 75 percent, while the student responsible for the remaining 25 percent of the costs.
At the insurance sign-up session, many students selected the more expensive Keystone Plan for the better coverage. A student’s total bill amounted to more than $300 for Blue Cross/Blue Shield and more than $1,000 for the Keystone Plan.
“I have cheap medical insurance now, and I just found out that this wasn’t that much more,” junior Justin Tocci said after he selected the Keystone plan because he thought it covered more than the Blue Cross plan.
Most students at the session considered the Keystone Plan more accommodating.
“The one thing I’ve noticed is that they definitely have the doctor I wanted on the plan, but I took this plan because it seems flexible enough,” said graduate student Fran Gelineau.
Students looking for more information on signing up for tuition-billed health insurance can contact the Human Resources Benefits department, or visit them on the Web at https://www.temple.edu/personnel/benefits.html.
Joe Redding can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.