MSU to require health care for students - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

MSU to require health care for students

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(02/08/12) - Michigan State University is now requiring all freshman to have health insurance or pay to join a plan through the school. It is the first public university to mandate coverage, but a Mid-Michigan private university took that step a few years ago.

In 2007, Kettering University began requiring students to have health insurance. School leaders say it was a rocky beginning but turned out for the best.

Wednesday, ABC12 spoke with Betsy Homsher, vice president of Student Life and dean of students. She says it was a tough transition for the school, but eventually students and parents learned the importance of it.

"Parents questioned why we would even care whether or not students have it. They felt it wasn't our business, that they had health insurance and of course we had deadlines that students missed and all of that. It was tough, but you know now we don't have any problems with it. Everybody is used to it," Homsher said.

If students elect to have the Kettering health care coverage, they would pay about $900 a year. At MSU, their health care plan would be $940 a semester. Essentially MSU students would be paying more than double what Kettering students pay a year.

Not all students are in favor of the policy. ABC12 spoke with public and private university students and got a mixed review.

"I don't believe health care should be mandatory for students, I believe it should be something independently acquired," said Chris Lafayatte a Kettering student.

Isabella Zapinski, also a Kettering student disagreed. "You could hurt yourself and you're away from your family, so having health care is definitely beneficial when it comes to going to the hospital and such."

At the University of Michigan-Flint, students also had a mixed emotions about the policy. "I probably wouldn't be able to afford that. Honestly, I can barely afford my bills now," said Tareasa Drewior.

Micah Jones felt differently. "I think it's really important that students have health care because sometimes when you come to school you don't have it to begin with and just making sure students are safe, happy and healthy that's really important."

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