University Health Center wants to help students to be insured


At this university, we care about our students and their health. With that being said, some students do not have health insurance due to varying factors. The University Health Center wants to offer guidance to those who want to learn how to become insured. Health insurance provides preventative health services to keep individuals healthy and cover the costs of chronic medical conditions or accidental injuries. Without health insurance, individuals are often forced to pay high medical costs out of pocket.

A Health Insurance/Food Insecurity Survey was conducted on the university’s undergraduate students in the beginning of October. This survey consisted of 168 participants between the ages of 18-34. Of these 168 students, 9% or 15 students indicated they do not have health insurance. The student population in the university is roughly 14,500. It can be estimated that about 1,300 students do not have health insurance. In comparison, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 13.3% of adults aged 18-64 were uninsured in the U.S. in 2018. Medicaid expansion in Louisiana has greatly increased access to health insurance and health care, which could account for more insured people in this state.

Barriers identified by the survey participants were: unaffordable insurance rates, employers not offering insurance, the misconception that insurance is unnecessary and a lack of education on reapplying for Medicaid as an adult. Many students also questioned terms surrounding health insurance such as deductible prices and the differences between a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) and a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO). It is common for students to misinterpret or be misinformed about these topics, but we are here to help.

In relation to health insurance, food insecurity is also a common health concern for some college students. According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, it is unknown exactly how many college students are experiencing food insecurity. The results from the Health Insurance/Food Insecurity Survey conducted on campus showed 14 of the participants were concerned about possible food insecurity. In addition, 12 students expressed present food insecurity due to not having the funds to replenish their pantries.

The University Health Center wants to help with the parallel issues of food insecurity and uninsured college students. On Nov. 11 and 12, the University Health Center is hosting a Medicaid Drive tabling event in the Student Union Breezeway. On Monday, Nov. 11, this event will be held from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and on Tuesday, Nov. 12, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Our goal is to help potentially qualified students apply for Medicaid and answer common questions about health insurance. In addition, information regarding food stamps and local resources for food banks will also be provided.