You Don’t Know What You Got . . .

Student Insurance . . . plus SHAC is available, too.

Student Insurance . . . plus SHAC is available, too.

By: Theo Burke

As I graduate, besides memories and friends, I am leaving behind the awesome Portland State student health insurance. I’ve written about this before, now I’m experiencing the difference.

Since I don’t know what job is coming down the pike or what kind of health insurance it might carry, I’ve applied for individual insurance through Cover Oregon, the state exchange that sells private health plans (with federal subsidies to help pay the premiums) under the Affordable Care Act, or “ObamaCare.” The state exchange will alternatively sign you up automatically for the state’s Medicaid program (the Oregon Health Plan) if you qualify.

In the real world, I will have to think more about the deductible. A deductible is an amount you pay each year (usually $250 – $1000 or higher) before any benefits are paid by your health insurer.

At PSU, the deductible was $0.00.

My present doctors might not be covered by a new insurance company. At PSU, the Aetna provider network was vast.

I will have to worry more about whether alternative care is covered. At PSU, naturopathic doctors are treated the same as primary care doctors, and chiropractors are covered up to twelve visits per year.

Weirdly enough, when I heard from Cover Oregon recently, they put me in the Oregon Health Plan, even though I reported enough income to disqualify me from that program. Now I will have to figure out the Medicaid ”world,” which works much differently than the private insurers’ system, or else contest my placement in that program with Cover Oregon.

Students, the PSU plan won’t throw you such curve balls. You have an awesome, generous health plan, and you should take advantage of it before you graduate. As I’ve said before, you don’t know what you’ve got, until you lose it.

America – SHUTDOWN

Are we really, "Closed for Business"?

Are we really, “Closed for Business”?

There is no one reading this that has not heard that our U.S. Government is, “SHUTDOWN”.

As of midnight on October 1, 2013, the U.S. Government went into shutdown mode because Congress could not agree on a budget for fiscal year 2014. It has occurred 17 times in the past, but this time it is different- and it will affect some students at PSU.

Because of the Affordable Care Act, ACA, which was put into law on March 23, 2010, PSU stepped up and revised its existing health insurance plan. The school is now offering a very comprehensive and affordable health care package benefiting many students. But some members of Congress do not like this law, ACA, and have made it a priority to have it repealed. They do not wish to approve a national budget unless the ACA is repealed. President Barrack Obama has refused to compromise with them and considers this action to repeal this important and existing law, “Unacceptable”. Thus, the government is in stalemate and our government in a shutdown mode.

Because of the current government shutdown many federal agencies have to furlough federal employees because they no longer have the money to pay them. Over 800,000 federal employees are being laid off now. Included in this are many employees of the Veterans Administration. This is the agency, which takes care of our veterans in terms of health care, educational assistance and disability payments. PSU students who are veterans and using educational assistance via the V.A. may have their benefits cut or even stopped until this shutdown is resolved.

This event is unique in our history. Congress has never before failed to pass a budget with the sole reason, “We don’t like this existing law. Repeal it- or we will not allow our government to function.”

In times past the government has shut down for a variety of reasons, a new bill before Congress, arguments over how the government spends its money (our money), etc. But it has never before gone into shutdown over an existing law.

Let us hope our Congress and our President can resolve their differences. Arrive at a compromise where our government does not have to, SHUTDOWN. And PSU students will continue to get excellent healthcare from the school and our veterans, who have given so much for this country, can once again receive the financial benefits due them.

PSU’s Mandatory Student Health Insurance or “The Agony and the Ecstasy”

Q:  “I didn’t know we had to have health insurance and why is it Medicine symbolmandatory?”

A:  In short, it is the law of the land. Per the health care reform act recently passed by Congress and taking effect January 2014, all citizens will have some form of health insurance coverage. Portland State University must comply with this law for any domestic student taking at least five credit hours. But as Christi Zielger, PSU Student Insurance Coordinator states, “PSU does not have mandatory insurance because of the law…we’ve always had mandatory insurance, but this is the first time we have had such a robust plan and are allowing students to waive out if they have something else.” Like it or not our government wants its citizens (and students) to be healthy and to have the ability to pay for such services to remain so.

(PSU’s plan is in effect now) http://www.pdx.edu/shac/insurance-information

Q:   “But I already have insurance (I think) through my parents or my employer. Can I use my same doctor”?

A:  As long as you have existing insurance coverage, provide the applicable documentation, and submit a waiver to the school prior to the beginning of class, you will not be automatically charged for PSU’s health insurance. And yes, you can stay with your same doctor or with your own insurance carrier. You will have to see if your current doctor is in-service with Aetna, PSU’s insurance provider, or is considered out-of-service with Aetna. Either way you are covered. http://www.pdx.edu/shac/insurancewaiver. And if you wish a link for providers: https://www.aetnastudenthealth.com/

Q: “If I do not already have health insurance coverage, how much will this cost me? Is this a good price?

A: The cost of PSU’s health insurance plan is $560/term ($140/month annualized). This bill will be automatically applied to your account when you register for class (unless you file a waiver). Look at these monthly cost comparisons*:

  • PSU-                   $140
  • Reed-                  $133
  • Lewis & Clark- $225
  • U of P-               $178
  • Willamette-      $211

(*For comparison, this writer has health insurance through his wife’s employer. While it is good coverage—the price is $460/mo. for the two of us).

Q: “Is there a clinic on campus I can go to if I can’t get to my normal doctor”?

  • A: Yes there is. SHAC, Student Health and Counseling, and it is located at Univ. Center Bldg, Ste. 300, 1880 SW 6thhttp://www.pdx.edu/shac/ They are professionally staffed for:

Hospital Sign >

  • Medical
  • Dental
  • Mental Health
  • Testing

PLAN HIGHLIGHTS (not inclusive)

  • No Deductible
  • $20/$30/$40 Co pays
  • Inpatient/surgical/hospital coverage @ 80%
  • Outpatient care @ 80%-100%
  • Annual out of pocket max @ $3500
  • Annual max payout coverage @ $100,000
  • Prescriptions @ 100% (generic)
  • Free generic birth control prescriptions
  • Outpatient Mental Health/Alcoholism/Drug Treatment @ 100%
  • Women’s Health Care @ 100%
  • Preventive Health Care @ 100%
  • Diabetic Testing Supplies @ 80%
  • Elective Abortion Expense @ 80%
  • No Dental
  • No Vision
  • No Hearing

For more detailed and complete information please contact:

Christy Ziegler Student Insurance Coordinator

Christi Ziegler, PSU Student Insurance Coordinator, 503-725-2467, christi.ziegler@pdx.edu, campus @ SHAC bldg.   Or     http://www.pdx.edu/shac/insuranceplan