Student insurance rate skyrockets
By Paulette DeGrood
August 30, 2012
|Infographic by Hillary Akers|
For students covered by the University-sponsored health care plan, as well as roughly one-third of all UNC system students, the 63 percent hike in the cost of the plan probably came as a shock.
The current rate for UNCP students for the 2012-13 academic year is $709 per semester, up from $434 per semester from the year before.
Students also face changes within the plan itself that make it more expensive than the rate increase reflects.
Students now have a $300 deductible to meet and various co-pays for doctor visits, X-rays, lab procedures and prescriptions that were not previously required.
Director of Student Health Services Cora Bullard attributes the cost increase to a number of factors. The health plan is under contract and administered by Pearce and Pearce, whom Bullard said over-estimated student enrollment and under-estimated student claims when proposing the rates for the system-wide plan.
About 70 percent of all UNC students waived out of the plan while the company experienced a high number of claims, which it did not expect.
In addition, the plan renewal also incorporated mandatory increases in coverage as stipulated by the Affordable Care Act, which forced the company to raise its preventive care and prescription drug coverage to $100,000.
Bullard added that UNCP plans to get new bids for the 2013-14 academic year after the contract with Pearce and Pearce ends.
When asked if she felt the increase would affect student enrollment at UNCP, Bullard responded that "they could possibly cause some retention issues."
SGA President Robert Nunnery said that students had not yet raised any issues concerning the rate increase.
However, Nunnery said the organization realizes this is a problem for students, especially the middle class whom he feels is being hit the hardest.
To avoid paying deductibles and co-pays, Bullard suggested students use Student Health Services on campus whenever possible. It offers a wide range of services and convenient hours, and students are not billed through their insurance for office visits. Students can view a list of changes to the health care plan by going to the Student Health Services tab on BraveWeb.