Student Health Center implements policy accepting outside insurance


Adrienne Underwood

Tulane University announced a new director of counseling on Thursday.

Students now have the opportunity to use outside health insurance at the Tulane Student Health Center. The Health Center has prepared for the launch of this project for the past two years through research on legal entities, policy work and financial analyses.

Tulane Health Center’s new policy is in keeping with national trends, as student health centers across the country are beginning to allow outside insurance companies to cover most or all of students’ medical services on campus.

“It is really important for students to have access to insurance so that they are always covered should they get sick, and they can have access to what they need,” Scott Tims, assistant vice president of Campus Health, said.

For students planning to use this new service, the Health Center will be collecting co-pays each time a student visits. Then, the Health Center will bill the student’s insurance, and the insurance company will pay for the service.

According to Tims, the Health Center’s new capacity to accept outside insurance will ultimately lower costs for students.

“Over time, as we become a network, your out of pocket expense will be less than it was before,” Tims said.

Tulane’s Health Center is funded by the Student Health and Wellness Fee, which students pay each academic year along with their tuition and other fees. Allowing use of outside insurance will prevent increases in this fee and offset any additional charges to students.

“We have been able to not raise that fee for about five years now, which is good, and we have more people to provide service,” Tims said.

Almost all of Tulane Student Health Center’s services will be coverable by outside insurance, excluding particular services that insurance companies do not typically pay for, such as travel clinics abroad and certain immunizations. 

Tims said that having accessibility to outside insurance on campus is comparable to seeing a provider in the community.

“In some ways, this is teaching you how to navigate a doctor’s office after you graduate which I think is just also an opportunity for students to kind of know, hey, this is going to go on my insurance, this is what it looks like, these are what the bills and things like that look like,” Tims said.

In addition, students now will have access to comprehensive medical care in close proximity to their living spaces, regardless of whether they use Tulane or outside insurance plans. 

“It’s good because if I need to go, I don’t have to drive to another inconvenient location,” sophomore Rachel Cline said. “My friend hurt her ankle and she didn’t have Tulane insurance, so she had to go to Ochsner [Medical Center] and it was very inconvenient and took her a very long time, like the majority of the day, to get herself checked out. If she would have had the opportunity to go to the Health Center here, I think it would have been a lot easier for her.”

To support students in navigating the changes, the Health Center has been making efforts to educate and train its employees on the new insurance policy.

“One thing I would ask is that students would bear with us as we make this transition,” Tims said. “There’s a lot that is new for us, so I would just ask for some patience as we are making the transition because it is new for a lot of people.”

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