Though CU works to offer affordable health care plans to its students, many are choosing different options.
CU requires its students to either select or waive its student health care plan, according to Wardenburg’s website. If students decide to waive CU’s coverage, they still have to have health care insurance.
Michele Van Pelt, the associate director of business, finance and operations at Wardenburg, said CU students choose many different insurance companies. Most depend on their parents’ health care provider.
“Most, especially undergrads, are covered by their parents,” Van Pelt said. “Students are coming from all over, so Blue Cross in Colorado is different than Blue Cross in California, [and] is different than Blue Cross in Texas,” Van Pelt said.
Van Pelt said around 6,000 CU students accepted the school’s Student Gold Health Insurance Plan this year.
She said the plan covers services that cannot be given inside Wardenburg, should a student require additional care.
“The things we don’t cover here: emergency room obviously, surgeries,” Van Pelt said. “We are an ambulatory care center, so things that are beyond the scope go out, and they typically go to Boulder Community Hospital or another local hospital. It’s still covered through UnitedHealthcare.”
She said CU chose a branch of UnitedHealthcare called UnitedHealthcare StudentResources to insure CU’s health plan this year.
She also said Wardenburg is governed by CU’s student government, which works to help the school find the best health plan for students each year.
“It’s actually the students that will go through the benefit package, like what’s your deductible? What’s your co-pay? What’s your maximum lifetime limits?,” Van Pelt said. “And so the health board helps us frame what the plan will look like.”
Georgianne Cotton, a 21-year-old senior news-editorial major and student coordinator at Community Health, a division of Wardenburg, said students who don’t have the Student Gold Health Insurance Plan can still receive Wardenburg’s services.
“If you don’t have CU’s Wardenburg insurance, their gold or Campus Care, the way it works is you pay a bill for Wardenburg, and then send the bill to your insurance company,” Cotton said. “Then your insurance company should reimburse you.”
Despite requiring all students to have health insurance, Van Pelt said the school will not penalize students if they don’t have health insurance.
“It’s really a risk that the student is taking,” Van Pelt said. “The university would never come back and penalize them. The fact that they are uninsured and now need insurance is a pretty big penalty in and of itself.”
Evan Thomas, an 18-year-old freshman mechanical engineering major, said he switched to CU’s health plan from his parents’ plan when he came to CU.
“I did it for convenience, and they looked at some of the cost options, and it actually worked out better for them,” Thomas said.
Luch Hak, a 25-year-old senior computer science major, said he is content with his coverage from Aetna Health Insurance.
“I never had a problem with them,” Hak said. “We do have local providers here, so there is no reason for me to switch over to the school’s.”
Cotton said students who are not insured by CU’s Student Gold Health Insurance plan can buy Wardenburg Campus Care, the primary care coverage on campus, if they want convenient primary care.
“It’s a good idea for people with outside insurance, and it makes accessing Wardenburg really easy,” Cotton said. “A lot of good things are covered under it. It’s a good plan for people looking to get care on campus. “
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Jon Tattum at Jonathan.Tattum@colorado.edu.