The high price of staying healthy

Maybe you partied a little too hard and landed yourself in the emergency room. If you’re uninsured, the hospital trip can cost “upwards of $1000,” according to Temple administrators. Temple provides students in need of

Maybe you partied a little too hard and landed yourself in the emergency room. If you’re uninsured, the hospital trip can cost “upwards of $1000,” according to Temple administrators.

Temple provides students in need of health insurance two different options for health care that provide different levels of coverage, but the cost difference between the two is over $1,600.

If students are not covered by their parent’s health insurance, they have the option to sign up through the university until Sept. 30. There are two different plans, Blue Cross/Blue Shield Compselect, which costs $736.32 a year, and Keystone Point of Service, for $2,368.44 a year.

The more expensive of the plans provides more coverage. With no insurance, “an emergency room visit costs upwards of $1000,” according to Kathleen Hagan, credit and collections manager for Temple Health Systems. What does that extra $1,632.12 for the Keystone plan get students? The hospital stint would only cost $35, and the prescription medications are as low as $15. But that kind of coverage is for students who can afford the Keystone plan.

Students who can afford the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Compselect option should check the limits of coverage. Emergency room visits can cost at least $500 and that is only the deductible. A deductible is the amount of money students with Compselect had better keep in their bank accounts in case of a medical situation. Compselect insurance only covers 75 percent of the total cost, after the $500 deductible.

While the Compselect plan does not cover prescriptions, students who earn under $200 a week can receive most types of medication at a low cost or for free, including birth control, from Health Services, regardless of insurance coverage.

“I am curious about why Temple does not offer more benefits to students,” said Jean A Rebovich, a senior journalism major, Rebovich said she has carried Blue Cross/Blue Shield Compselect through Temple since her freshman year.

“When I was a freshman, the insurance cost around $500. Now, the coverage is the same; it’s just more expensive,” Rebovich said.

Universities across the country offer their students some kind of health coverage, but costs vary greatly for students. The cost of basic coverage among universities in Philadelphia ranges from $624 at La Salle, with partial coverage for prescriptions, to $2,202 at the University of Pennsylvania. Penn students not covered by their parents’ plan are required to pay the extra $2,202 for insurance. Temple students, on the other hand, can take their lives into their own hands and try living without coverage if their wallet or sense of adventure demands it.

“All international students are required either to enroll officially in the university-sponsored program or to waive out of this requirement providing proof of comparable ‘outside’ coverage to the Office of Benefits,” according to Temple’s International Student Procedure Web site.

While most students want quality healthcare at affordable prices, consider that Temple does not set the price of student’s health coverage plan, Blue Cross/Blue Shield does.

Though Temple does not contribute any money to lower the premium cost to the student, it does negotiate a group rate for students. Geralyn O’Kane, benefits manager of the Human Resources office said, “The group rate is less than insurance coverage a student would be able to find on their own.”

O’Kane said it is important for uninsured college students to look into the insurance coverage options. State and federally sponsored sites are available online with links to affordable health insurance for low income individuals, including students.

One of the easiest site to navigate and compare different kinds of health insurance was If you type in a zip code and a few vital statistics, and the Web site provides several insurance options. Celtic provides a $271.80 a year plan that costs $50 for emergency room visits and $15-$30 for prescriptions.

For more information on health coverage options through Temple, visit:

Natalie Lavelle can be reached at

1 Comment

  1. another tip is to check your parents plan to see the eligibility requirements, you may be able to stay on until age 26 if you have enough credit hours during the year, then go on a short term plan during the summer months.

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