By Morgan Feddes
If you get injured while on campus, chances are your student insurance will cover some of the costs your parents’ insurance won’t.
Whitworth students are required to have some form of health insurance in order to attend, said Jan Bynagle, medical program coordinator of the Health Center. If students do not have a plan through their parents or other outside source, they are required to purchase a student plan.
“We would never recommend [Whitworth’s student plan] as your main plan,” Bynagle said. “But it can be your primary plan if you have no other insurance.”
Whitworth’s student plan is formulated and administered by the broker Educational and Institutional Insurance Administrators, Inc (EIIA), Bynagle said.
Kristiana Holmes, director of health services, said a consortium consisting of several schools of similar size to Whitworth works with the EIIA to provide lower insurance costs to students.
“The insurance through Whitworth is an excess policy, meaning any other insurance that is responsible goes first,” Bynagle said. “The plan through Whitworth only picks up co-pays and deductibles that are left for the patient to pay.”
There are three different branches of the EIIA’s plan: one for student athletes, one for international students and one for the general undergraduate population. The main undergraduate health insurance plan is composed of two levels: the basic accident benefit, and the student accident and sickness plan.
Unless they are student athletes or international students, all students are automatically enrolled into the basic accident plan, regardless of other insurance policies. This shows up as the “mandatory insurance fee” on a student’s bill each semester. The cost for this insurance is $60 for the entire year, according to Whitworth’s website.
“When your injury requires (a) treatment by a doctor; (b) hospital services; (c) services of a licensed practical nurse or RN; (d) x‐ray service; (e) use of operating room, anesthesia, laboratory service (f) use of an ambulance; (g) use of an ambulatory surgical center or ambulatory medical center; (h) if ordered by a doctor, prescription medicines, drugs or any other therapeutic services or supplies; or (i) home health care, we will pay the covered expense incurred within (104) weeks after the date of the accident up to a maximum of $5,000,” according to the student insurance brochure.
The basic accident plan covers accidents that happen on or off campus during an academic year, Bynagle said. Injuries from such activities as biking, skiing or rock climbing are covered under this plan; injuries from things like skydiving and bungee jumping are not.
The second level of student insurance, the student accident and sickness plan, is a level students can opt out of, provided they have proof of other insurance.
Last year, the plan cost $427. Students were able to opt out of the plan until Sept. 21, Bynagle said.
The accident and sickness plan has an aggregate limit of up to $10,000. It includes an expanded accident benefit, accidental death and dismemberment benefits, separate sickness inpatient and outpatient benefits, an outpatient emergency room benefit and a sickness outpatient mental illness and chemical and substance abuse expense, as well as certain additional benefits.
Student athletes have an expanded insurance plan under the EIIA that covers up to $25,000 for any accident that results from an authorized practice or game, according to Whitworth’s website. This expanded insurance comes at no extra cost to the athletes.
A separate insurance company expands those benefits to $90,000 to comply with NCAA requirements, according to the intercollegiate athletes’ brochure.
All international students are required to pay for the International Insurance Plan, extending their accident and sickness benefits to $250,000 according to the Whitworth website. Unlike the accident and sickness plan, this fee is nonwaivable.Whitworth students who travel abroad have health insurance through a different company, Bynagle said.
While students are encouraged to have the accident and sickness plan, insurance does not limit anyone seeking treatment from the health center, Bynagle said.
“All students are welcome to the Health Center, regardless of their insurance,” Bynagle said.
Students who are interested in filing an insurance claim or learning more about their student insurance plan should contact Bynagle.