MU health insurance an option

Marina Boyle, Staff writer

Health insurance is a very important facet of college life that is often overlooked. In terms of personal care, Mercyhurst puts a lot of time into protecting students’ overall well being. One aspect of this is the Student Health Insurance Plan offered to all Mercyhurst students.

Provided in connection with Highmark Health Insurance, the 2017 plan covers broad stroke health care and emergency aid. At $942 per semester, it is an easy and comprehensive choice that is billed for directly along with tuition.

John Patterson, director of Protective Services, helps to coordinate the plan for all students.

“The cost of healthcare continues to skyrocket. A lot of the medical profession does not distinguish based on where you are from,” said Patterson. “This is why it’s so important for Mercyhurst students to be well looked after once their needs are identified.”

For international students in particular, health insurance can sometimes be an area of confusion. Plans that proved more than adequate in their home country may not translate well into the American healthcare system, and they may be left with far less coverage than they expected. For this reason, all students are encouraged to seriously consider the Mercyhurst Student Health Insurance Plan over comparable alternatives from other places.

It is of huge importance that those choosing this option register for their plan with Hubbard Bert to enact it. The plan must then be restarted each calendar year. For international students in particular, this might involve adding your Social Security number to your account if you used an alternative number when first registering.

In recent years, President Michael T. Victor has made health insurance one of his priorities in campus improvements. The previous health insurance system comprised of plans at different levels to allow extra coverage to students more likely to get injured on campus, such a student athletes. Now there is one comprehensive plan for all students to reduce confusion. This encompasses U.S. Department of State requirements and is still in line with NCAA guidelines.

However, it is still very important that all students who choose the Mercyhurst University plan know the details and take care to review what is covered and what is not. For example, the total maximum out-of-pocket limit for an individual is $7,150 and coverage runs from August to July on a contract year system.

If students attend the Campus Health Center and need to be referred to another medical facility, they can be treated at Millcreek Community Hospital, Saint Vincent Hospital or UPMC Hamot. Each of these locations will always accept Mercyhurst insurance.

But again, there are fine details to be understood. There are often $20 copayments, and dental care and eye care are not included in the plan.

One positive aspect of this plan is that even with soaring health insurance costs, Mercyhurst does try to keep increases in price slow and gradual. Last year, 130 new students joined this plan, and a larger group decreases the cost for everyone. With the number of international students on at Mercyhurst tripling within the past 10 years, it is an advantage to everyone when students choose the Mercyhurst care.

Anyone confused about their coverage should reach out to staff members such as Patterson or their international enrollment counselor, or find exact coverage details on the school website.