Hospitalization insurance still concern for U

by Megan Boldt

In the cloud of anxiety, stress and confusion that finals create, students might not have noticed a change in the registration system last spring. These students might be enrolled for University hospitalization insurance they might not want or need.
Due to the semester transition, students who already have hospitalization insurance need to re-enter their policy information by Sept. 17 or they will be charged for the University’s plan. Boynton Health Service officials are concerned many students have not done this yet.
“Because of the upgrading of the computer systems, we can’t tell how many people are enrolled for University hospitalization,” said David Golden, director of public health, marketing and program development. “Basically, we are expecting the worst.”
Once classes start, Student Accounts Receivable Manager Carolee Cohen said University officials hope to have calculated how many students are signed up for insurance.
Boynton is trying to get the number enrolled as soon as possible so officials know what they will be dealing with.
To inform students, Boynton sent out e-mails regarding the change last spring. More e-mails will be sent out this fall as last-minute reminders.
“Having the capabilities of sending out mass e-mails will be the most successful form of communication,” Cohen said.
E-mail is not the only tactic the University is using to get the message out. New students were told at orientation that they must enter in policy information or fees will be charged.
When updating insurance information, though, students need to make sure their information is accurate.
“There will be an audit of a sampling of students,” Golden said. “Students with incorrect information will be automatically enrolled in the University’s program.
During the 1998-99 school year, 5,204 students — about 15 percent of the undergraduate population — had University insurance.
These numbers will be used to compare to this year’s total. From that, Boynton officials will see if efforts were successful in informing students.
At the University, hospitalization insurance is mandatory. This is common among large research universities. Of the 11 Big Ten schools, six have similar policies requiring insurance.
“Students need to know they have until Sept. 17 to change their policy profile,” Golden said. “Otherwise, they are enrolled and considered part of the plan.”

Megan Boldt covers city government and welcomes comments at [email protected] She can also be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3224.