Student Health Insurance Coverage

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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By even the most conservative estimates some 15 million college students lack either adequate medical coverage or any form of coverage whatsoever. Needless to say, this is a worrying trend, not only for students and parents, but for universities, many of which must pick up a higher portion of the tab for their students. It's not just the colleges that must chip in to help lower all-around costs, but local communities as well, especially those surrounding university towns.

The trouble is, the staggering rate of inflation across the health care industry affects providers everywhere and patients of all ages, including kids, teens, and twenty-somethings. Local doctors who practice near campuses are thus just as likely to feel the pinch of rising costs and often eat a large portion of their expenses. While some physicians do choose to chase down delinquent patients in an attempt to recoup costs, most students don't have the sorts of assets to justify this effort.

Why the Ridiculous Premiums?

The reason a large share of students go without health insurance is simple: spiraling costs across the field make coverage prohibitively expensive. In just the past few years, large swathes of the medical industry have witnessed double-digit inflation for services, equipment, drugs, and overhead. As a result, insurance companies have been forced to raise their rates just to survive.

While some inflation is to be expected year in and year out, the recent spike in medical costs and, consequently, insurance premiums has been unprecedented. On the one hand, more drug research and development has driven rates up, but so too have administrative costs. Until group health insurers find ways to spend more money on their patients and less on paperwork and upkeep, there's no reason why this trend should reverse itself anytime soon. Thus, students will have to continue to seek out discount insurance plans and other stop-gap forms of coverage.

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