Health Insurance – Automatic enrollment creates issues with multiple policy coverage

Sophia Potoczak, Birmingham, junior, never intended to be covered under two health insurance policies. But when she received allergy shots last year, and expressed confusion about the billing, she was unexpectedly informed that she was covered by a health plan through college.

 Prior to every academic school year, a letter is mailed to each student’s home explaining the school’s insurance plan and how to opt out, yet students often overlook this provision. Full-time students are automatically enrolled in the health plan through the school, unless the student chooses to opt out of the health plan.

 “I know I’m covered under the plan, since I saw the fee on my bill.  I have health insurance plan back home.  I thought it (the EIIA health plan) was a mandatory charge,” said Diana Schultz, Kalamazoo sophomore.

 The cost of the health insurance plan is $130 for the academic year, which covers up to $5,000 for a basic accident, $10,000 if admitted as an inpatient, and $1,000 if admitted as an outpatient.  Other than gynecological services, the insurance plan does not cover preventative care treatment, such as vaccines and physicals.

According Kristen Tekiele, office coordinator for Student Health Services (SHS), 70 to 80 percent of the student population (approximately) 1,510 students are enrolled in the health insurance plan. The plan is administered by Educational and Institutional Insurance Administrators (EIIA) and covers each student from August 15, 2010 through August 14, 2011.

Students are required to have medical insurance through SHS unless they can show they have insurance that is equal or better than the Plan B policy offered through the college.

Tekiele states student health services cannot bill commercial insurance because they do not have the manpower to bill over 1,000 different insurance companies.

If a student chooses to opt out of the student health plan and continues to visit health services, however, they can send a receipt to their commercial insurance. 

“Our charges are so low, depending on the insurance company, it might not equal what the co-payment is, so the insurance company might not refund them,” said Tekiele said.

Potoczak continues to visit health services weekly for allergy shots.  After being was automatically enrolled in the health plan, she feels it is easier for billing and is satisfied having two insurance plans.

“I was told by health services that it would be more cost effective to go through the school insurance,” Potocazak said.

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