Education

UNC system mandating health coverage for students

Posted March 24, 2010

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— Most students in the University of North Carolina system will be required to have health insurance, beginning in the fall.

The mandate affects students on all 16 university campuses – students at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, a magnet high school, are exempt – but isn't the result of the new overhaul of the nation's health care system. UNC administrators want to ensure that students don't face unexpected medical bills if they become ill or get injured on campus.

UNC officials want to avoid unexpected medical bills

"I think it makes sense for students to have health insurance. You never know what is going to happen on campus," said Samuel George, a UNC-Chapel Hill freshman.

Students who cannot get insurance from another source, such as a family policy, will be automatically enrolled in the UNC system's insurance plan. Fees for the coverage vary by campus. It will cost $720 a year at North Carolina Central University, $723 at UNC-Chapel Hill and $744 at North Carolina State University.

"I think the only concern is cost for people who can't afford it," said Payton Kendersky, a UNC-Chapel Hill sophomore.

UNC administrators said the system-wide insurance requirement should lead to better negotiated rates and benefits. Officials with the state Department of Insurance said they don't believe national health care reform will affect the university's plan.

The insurance requirement will be new for UNC-Chapel Hill, N.C. State, UNC-Wilmington, East Carolina University and Appalachian State University. Other campuses already have insurance mandates for students.

N.C. Central has required students to have health insurance for more than 20 years, said Charles Bowen, the university's director of student health and counseling services. Seventy-five percent of students on campus enroll in the school's health plan, he said.

"The program has worked exceptionally well," Bowen said. "It's a very small amount to pay considering what one receives in return."

Still, some students worry that the added fee could hurt.

"It's not like we are not already paying enough as it is, and tuition costs don't seem to be getting cheaper," said Sean Greaves, a UNC-Chapel Hill junior.

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  • pappy1 Mar 25, 2010

    It's not a health issue...it's a scheme by the UNC system in cahoots with the provider. Isn't the UNC system a state operation? If so, this is the State of North Carolina FORCING people to buy insurance, at risk of being expelled.

    One way or another, the hucksters are gonna get us all.

  • dmccall Mar 25, 2010

    This is going to cost a fortune.

  • wwwalker Mar 25, 2010

    Why haven't the far right called mandating health insurance for these college students socialism?Obambacare is socialism ,right?

    aamccrae, getting a post-secondary education is optional. Being a U.S. citizen is not, for the most part.

  • issymayake Mar 25, 2010

    Because H1N1 and Staph or more common in heavily populated environments like say a college dormitory. It's a public health issue.

  • biga1950 Mar 25, 2010

    Why haven't the far right called mandating health insurance for these college students socialism?Obambacare is socialism ,right?

  • wwwalker Mar 25, 2010

    q0..0, I didn't catch the UNC-A part the first time I read your comment. The insurance requirement your talking about must have been only for that particular school, not the entire UNC system.

    Does everyone here understand that the UNC system is not just UNC-Charlotte, UNC-Greensboro, UNC-Chapel H*LL... etc? It also includes ASU, ECU, WCU, NC State, and others.

    http://www.northcarolina.edu/

  • wwwalker Mar 25, 2010

    the unc system has required this for at least 2 years. Got a son at unc-a if you don't prove ins. they charge you

    What school? They haven't charged me yet. I haven't had insurance for the past 5 years.

  • PeaceOut2017 Mar 25, 2010

    If they can't afford it, too bad, make them pay a fine to the IRS and they don't pay that the IRS can garnish their wages, seize their assets, or throw them in jail. This is exactly how it works in Obamacare

  • issymayake Mar 25, 2010

    This is a good thing, and I was actually shocked that it wasn't required before. It's was required at NCCU when I was in school in the 90s.

  • freedomrings Mar 25, 2010

    Same thing is also happening at State. Students already received their notice.

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