Rx sticker shock
Student health insurance jumps by $265 per semester
Published: Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 5, 2012 12:09
N.C. Central University students face a drastic cost increase in health insurance this fall.
The UNC insurance plan is offered through Pearce & Pearce Inc.
The insurance rate offered through the University of North Carolina — NCCU is one of the 16 schools within the UNC System that requires all students to have health insurance — was jacked up by Pearce & Pearce Inc. from $444 per semester to $709 per semester. That’s a whopping 59 percent jump.
A May 30 email from NCCU’s interim director Student Health and Counseling Services, Louis Velez, informed students of the change.
According to the email students have until Sept. 15 to purchase alternative insurance services and opt-out of the school plan via hard waiver. English senior Lindsey Rose said that she is upset by the price increase.
“No one should be required to pay $700 per semester for basic healthcare,” said Rose.
“The same services that were provided last semester for $444 now cost $709 and nothing has changed.”
In a May 1 News and Observer story by Jane Stancill, Bruce Mallette, UNC vice president for academic and student affairs, said the increases were enacted after new federal regulations in March changed preventative care and pharmacy services.
Mallette said UNC student health care usage contributed to the increase. UNC had the option to re-bid the contract, but decided to wait until next year, when new regulations under the Affordable Care Act take hold.
An estimated 64,000 UNC system students purchase the UNC insurance plan.
According to the email from public relations “Students who have their own insurance can waive the $709 charge for the Student Health Insurance Plan by going to www.studentsinsurance.com.”
“I am covered on my mother’s insurance, but that extra $300 they are charging could have been used to cover some students’ books,” said history senior Victoria Colston-Brooks.
“Not all students waive the school insurance,” English graduate student, Cithrah Henderson said.
“I am under the school’s insurance, and it is too expensive.”
To waive the insurance for fall 2012-13 students must show that they have their own insurance or are under their parent’s plan and complete the waiver by Sept. 15.