KIRSTEN ADAIR | STAFF REPORTER
Students enrolling at Butler University who did not have existing health insurance found more than $1,000 tacked onto their bills this year.
That is the cost of Butler University’s sponsored student health insurance plan, which was added to students’ bills if they did not waive the plan or if they chose to enroll in it.
“We really want to protect students and families against financial difficulties,” Sally Click, dean of student services, said. “In no way is anyone forced to take this plan.”
Butler University requires all students to have health insurance.
To ensure this, Butler enrolls students in the university-sponsored plan automatically if they provide no proof of existing insurance by a deadline, which was Aug. 28 for this fall semester.
Julie Howerton, director of health services, said the reason Butler requires health insurance is to protect students’ investment. She said that there are about 400 undergraduate students at Butler, roughly 10 percent of campus, enrolled in the sponsored plan
“It has been pretty steady,” she said. “Most people have options through their family or they have options elsewhere.”
Freshman David McNeal purchased the university-sponsored plan because he didn’t have other insurance.
“I think it’s a nice resource to have,” McNeal said. “I went to the HRC and didn’t have to have an insurance card because I had Butler’s insurance.”
Students receive emails in May concerning insurance, and students with existing health insurance can just notify the university to let it know they are covered. Health services checks to make sure that the existing insurance is compliant with the Affordable Care Act, and the charge of the university insurance is taken off the students’ bills.
Click said the sponsored plan, from the insurance company UnitedHealthcare, is a plan the university works to tweak and improve every few years.
“It works really well with health services here,” Click said. “It keeps the price down because there is no co-payment, no deductible. Everything is covered at 100 percent. Out of pocket is very little to none.”
Howerton said the sponsored plan includes benefits that many individual insurance plans lack.
The amount of people on the plan increases the university’s purchasing power, and last year Butler was even able to add coverage for ambulances to the plan.
Click said while the university’s plan is a good option, it is important for students to have a plan that they are comfortable with.
“The point is not to have our plan,” Click said. “The point is to have a plan—to have insurance.”