St Joe’s mandates insurance

    The school joins a number of other colleges establishing a requirement for students to have health insurance.

    St. Joeseph’s University in Philadelphia announced that students there are required to have health insurance. The school joins a growing number of colleges making insurance a mandate.

    Listen:

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    Many universities require health insurance for students participating in school activities, including sports. About 30 percent now say all students must have insurance — and that number is growing. That’s according to James Turner, the president of the American College Health Association. Turner says that, previously, schools required insurance to spread the cost of paying for athletes’ injuries. But now, it’s more about the rising cost of health care.

    Turner: Schools are realizing that there can be a huge financial penalty for students who get sick or injured while in school, so they’re basically trying to protect the students’ financial security so they can continue to stay in school.

    Most students do have health insurance, often through their parents’ benefits. Mary-Elaine Perry is the assistant vice president for student development at St Joe’s.

    Perry: Incoming most of our students, 90-95 percent of our students have health insurance. But over time maybe another 20 or 30 percent will lose insurance due to either timing out of parents’ insurance or in these economics conditions parents losing jobs.

    Student health centers can take care of many sicknesses, and students don’t need health insurance to visit them. For emergency care and surgery, students often have to go off-campus and pay out of pocket if they are uninsured. Perry says the mandate will help avoid financial ruin for students who have a severe illness, and help the school save money as well. At times, St. Joe’s would foot the bill for emergency services for uninsured students.

    Perry says some parents and students have expressed concern about the mandate, but that the school benefits are affordable, at less than one hundred dollars per month.

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