Ask Dr. Jeff
Dear Dr. Jeff: I am a little confused about the health insurance offered by Bowdoin, and I was wondering if you could clarify some issues for me. Can I cancel this unrequested policy? I already have health insurance and to be paying for another policy seems a little absurd. The $300 per year fee seems, on first glance, a little suspicious. Perhaps the health center could take some initiative to educate students about the cost of health care and the student insurance policy, as well as health insurance in general. O.S.
Dear O.S.: You are not alone in wondering about the student health
insurance plan. In spite of a number of attempts to clarify students'
(and parents') concerns and questions, doubts still clearly persist. Let
me try to clarify a few key points.
The $300 Student Health fee pays for a broad array of health care services.
It buys unlimited access to the Health Center, and all of the required
vaccines, in-house x-rays and lab tests, over-the-counter and prescription
medications, bandages, splints, and primary and acute care services we
offer there. These are all free of charge and in unlimited supply. As
I hope you have heard, we are very pleased to be able to offer students
free Pap tests, free STD testing, and free formulary prescription medications
The Health fee pays for visits to the Counseling Center as well, at no
extra charge. This includes an unlimited number of sessions with the Counseling
Staff and with Dr. Stenzel, our consulting psychiatrist.
The Health fee pays for a $200 prescription benefit each school year.
You could easily spend the equivalent of your whole year's Student Health
fee in one month (or less) seeing a therapist in the community. Or, on
the other hand, you could "recoup" two-thirds of your Health
fee in paid prescription benefits each year.
This student health package can only be offered to all students at this
price, if all students purchase it. Utilization and cost of services must
be spread over the whole group. That's how insurance works. The fewer
the students enrolled in a program, the higher its price (and, likely,
the fewer its benefits.)
There's one other important benefit to consider. The services and coverage purchased by your Health fee are yours. You don't need to obtain pre-approval from an insurance company, a doctor's office, or your parents. No one reviews the prescriptions you've filled, or the lab tests you've had, or the treatments you've received. Your Health fee pays for your health care: comprehensively, inexpensively, and confidentially.