why do you have to have health insurance to go to college?

I just checked my bill for this quarter and it’s well over $500 more than it should be for a full time student. I poked around and found that the extra $$ is for health insurance “provided” by the college because I don’t have health insurance (no job right now so no bennies) and for some arcane reason you have to have HI to go to school.

Why? What difference does it make if I have health insurance or I don’t have health insurance? Does having health insurance mean that I’ll be able to study better or get better grades???

Seriously, does anyone know why this is? And how to get around it?


I guess it depends on your school. Mine doesn’t require students to have health insurance.

Nor mine. Where do you go? Lotsa schools in Ohio.

University of Cincinnati - Clermont College. It’s not limited to that college though. It’s the whole of UC.

My undergrad institution (Swarthmore) did require health insurance, and so does my grad school (University of Chicago.) I believe that this is partly “for your own good”, and partly because they’d rather not have students dropping out due to health concerns (if a large number of students end up dropping out, it doesn’t reflect well on the college.) Here’s an article from Ohio State University explaining their rationale for instituting such a requirement.

And while I hate to sound like a nattering nabob, going without health insurance is like playing Russian Roulette with your credit history. You might want to reconsider whether you really want to “get around” this requirement.

Actually, the above isn’t quite true. I quite enjoy sounding like a nattering nabob.

I graduated from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and health insurance was mandatory there, too. You were automatically charged for it and enrolled unless you presented proof that you had at least equivalent coverage. Many students wouldn’t think to go out of their way (and pay an arm and a leg for) independent coverage not subsidized by an employer or institution, so they wouldn’t have insurance (this document suggests that indeed they don’t–in the section about student ins. lapsing over the summer). That’s generally considered A Bad Thing when you can’t pay your doctor bills (I’ve never known anyone who hasn’t had to go to a doctor/emergency room from time to time), so yes it very well might affect your status as a student. Many employers mandate health insurance and take it out of your check, and in effect that’s what these universities are doing. I don’t think there’s a legal way around it–you’d have to forge documents to indicate equivalent coverage, or maybe you could claim some whackjob thing like religious objection to qualified healthcare. If you really like living without HI, you’d need to check with the university regarding their policies.

Mine requires health insurance or signing up for the student health plan. No idea why.

Never heard of a school requiring health insurance before.

[Legal Studies major mode ON]

I wonder if it could be contested in court. College is hard enough to pay for as is, to require you to buy HI in order to go is discriminatory. It keeps out those students who can manage to pay for college but who can’t come up with an extra $500 for insurance …

[mode OFF]

I don’t think it’s any more discriminatory than the other fees they make us pay. I have to pay a technology fee, even though I use my computer at home most of the time. I have to pay an athletics fee, even though I never go through the sports complex. I have to pay a health fee, even though I don’t even know where the clinic is and I have my own health insurance. I also have to pay an international education fee, and I don’t even know what the heck it is!

I’d say it’s probably the same as requiring we’re all vaccinated or exempt from vaccination.

If you want to get your own, I got mine through eHealthInsurance.com

An individual plan through Blue Cross/Blue Shield–PPO, with decent benefits and stuff–costs me $50 a month.

I think it’s quite possible that you will be able to study better and consequently get better grades if you have health insurance.

People without health insurance tend not to get treatment for health problems except in case of emergency. There are many, many chronic health problems that could have a detrimental effect on study habits which could be alleviated by a trip to the doctor – intestinal problems, headaches, allergies, PMS, etc. Any problem that causes chronic pain or discomfort is going to reduce your ability to give full attention to your studies. Also, there are many problems which are not serious if caught and treated early that become much more serious if left untreated, and which could, as pointed out by others, require you to take a leave from school or drop out entirely, which would really hurt your study habits.

It was required at the University of Minnesota. The thing is, the insurance they stuck you with was not regular health insurance (after all, everyone paid for access to Boynton Health Service through student service fees whether you were insured or not, so everyone–insured or not–could see the doctor there if they wanted/needed to), but hospitalization insurance. This is mainly so that the university hospital didn’t get stuck with a bunch of unpaid bills from uninsured students who needed the emergency room or other hospital care.

Mine didn’t require it.

Before going to a college be sure to read what fees they have.

Thanks for all of the advice y’all.

I just have to say though, I’m not “happily” living without insurance. Unfortunatly I’m currently without the insurance because I left my job to go to college full time. I just do NOT want to pay for ins that basicly covers nothing. And I feel that making me have this insurance is wrong.

But, that’s just me.

thanks again everyone for your thoughts!


I hope you’re not a nattering nabob of negativity, though.

I went to Cal State Hayward, and they didn’t require health insurance, but you could pay a small fee to get basic coverage through the school. It covered stuff like eye exams and checkups.

The University of Colorado, Boulder, School of Law requires it, and you know that if a bunch of third-years could get it thrown out, they would have already!

I’m an undergrad at the University of Kentucky, where all full-time students - even those with health insurance - are required to pay a fee for the university-provided health service. I’m not sure how much it is, but it’s really not much and only covers routine doctor visits. Nothing fancy.

I do know that the grad school here requires international grad students to have health insurance. Domestic grad students have no such requirement. (http://www.rgs.uky.edu/gs/fellowship/healthcoverageFAQs.html)

Harvard Law requires it. You know that would never last if the students could find a way to argue it was illegal!

Ok, so that’s understandable, if you don’t like the coverage. Does your school allow you a refund of the insurance fee if you get your own insurance?

So sign up for University of Phoenix, on-line. Keep your own hours, be responsible for your own Dr. & hospital bills and enjoy your education.

I currently have health insurance through my stepfather’s policy, at least until March. Let me tell you what happened to me in the past year that makes me eternally grateful I have never had my insurance lapse.

First, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. That requires bloodwork that costs about $75/test. Luckily, the prescription to correct the hormone imbalance is <$10/month.

Three months later, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Most of the major mood stabilizers require regular bloodwork for serum level and a metabolic panel. I don’t remember the cost for those tests, but it’s not cheap. Sometimes I would have my mood stabilizer level checked every two weeks when we’re tweaking my mood stabilizer. Most of my drugs for the bipolar are name brand, except for the anti-anxiety drug. At one point, when I was on less than I am now, if I did not have health insurance, I would be paying about $140/month for the prescriptions. I also have to investigate the mental health coverage of my insurance, because I see my psychiatrist once a month. When my moods are out of control, I see him once a week. I also see a therapist.

This does not include the other odds and ends I’m stuck with–gynecological exams, vision care, etc.

If I did not have any insurance when I was diagnosed with the hypothyroidism or the bipolar, I would have been out of luck getting coverage for them later because they would be "pre-existing conditions. " I do not want to even contemplate the idea of my bipolar being untreated. So long as I start the new insurance before the old one lapses, I will be fine. Remember the old adage: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”