Student Heath Services' lack of insurance flexibility leads to student costs

In this photo, the UConn Student Health Services building is pictured. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

UConn’s Student Health Services (SHS) does not take all insurances, resulting in extensive costs for students who have coverage not accepted by SHS.

Kasia Thomas, a 7th-semester molecular and cell biology major, went to SHS this past December to receive care and was unaware that the services she received were not indemnified by Connecticare, her insurance agency.

“About two or three weeks later, my parents received a bill for hundreds of dollars for seemingly no reason,” Thomas said. “It took calling the head of Student Health Services to find out that they don’t take my insurance.”

Thomas, like many other students, purchased her insurance through the recently founded Access Health CT marketplace. Although purchased through the state sponsored site, coverage is not insured by SHS.

Betsy Cracco, director of Counseling and Mental Health Services (CMHS) and interim director of Student Health Services (SHS), said that it is often times difficult to always know which insurance plan is accepted because there are so many available to students.

“There are many different students, from many different states, with many different insurance plans,” Cracco said. “Students can look online or call their insurance provider before school starts to make sure their plan covers the services in SHS.”

Cracco said that at new student orientations, CMHS and SHS have a booth as well as an information session for parents and students to ask questions regarding their insurance.

“It is all about educating the parents and students as to how their plans work and we get many questions,” Cracco said. “If a student’s insurance is not taken by SHS, they will never be denied services, similarly if you were in an Emergency room and required care. Students can work with us on an individual basis to see why they may not have received coverage.”

Thomas, however, said she was dissatisfied with the help rendered by SHS.

“No one in student health services would listen to me or help me,” Thomas said. “I felt like I was talking to a wall. I would say that the Office of the Dean of Students was a great resource and that if I had not sought their help that my problem would have never been solved.”

SHS is working on awareness of insurance plan coverage. In order to receive services from SHS, students must fill out a consent form acknowledging they have made sure their plan is accepted. The plans listed as accepted by SHS on the consent form are Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, CT Medicaid, Tricare and United Healthcare.

If a student’s plan is not covered, they will not be denied services. They will, however, see the cost of their visit posted on their fee bill.

In terms of Medicaid provisions, there is variance by state. CT Medicaid is also known by its subset HUSKY Health. SHS only accepts HUSKY Health plans A and B, which are for lower income individuals that are uninsured and under age 19, the caregivers of those individuals and pregnant women that qualify.

“UConn began accepting insurance plans six years ago,” Cracco said. “HUSKY health takes a year to begin working, so we have been accepting this insurance for five years now. If students have the insurance plan purchased through UConn, they will be fully covered and will pay zero dollars for their co-pay.”


Elizabeth Charash is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at elizabeth.charash@uconn.edu.