Student insurance too pricey


By AJ Edwards

NIU is charging more than 50 percent more for its student and dependent health insurance than University of Illinois or Illinois State University.

According to ISU’s Student Health Services website, ISU charges its students $218 per semester. U of I, according to its Student Injury and Sickness Insurance Plan, charges only $254 per semester for insurance. NIU, on the other hand, charges its students $530 per semester for health insurance.

It’s interesting NIU doesn’t have the highest enrollment of the three state universities, yet it still charges the most. Oh, don’t forget about getting insurance for your spouse or child. NIU charges $2,206 for a spouse per semester and $1,004 for a child. U of I, on the other hand, charges only $994 for a spouse and $460 for a child. The only plus side to this is that NIU offers spouse and child health insurance while ISU does not.

How does NIU expect its students with families to afford to provide health insurance for their dependents when it costs that much?

It’s bad enough that students are getting overcharged for individual health insurance, but how about those of us with spouses or children?

“The cost is unreasonably unaffordable,” said junior English major Amy Bayliss. “It would cost me around $800 to $1,000 a month for my family of three, which is more than my housing costs, and it’s around half the cost of my tuition.”

I am very much like Bayliss, only I have just my wife to provide insurance for, but it’s still equally unaffordable. I have a part-time retail job which can only provide me with around 28 hours a week of work. I cannot possibly afford rent, my car, my books, groceries, auto insurance and then add on another $2,000 for my wife to get health care. It’s simply impossible.

“NIU’s plan is through Academic Health Plans, Inc., which many colleges use,” said Natasha McPartlin, marketing coordinator for Health Services. “This actually makes it cheaper because they do group plans through a number of colleges. Student Health Services has no control over insurance costs.”

While university insurance may be cheaper being bulked with other colleges, it is still not affordable to students. Student Health Services does not have control over the costs of insurance, but surely they could put in a good word for the full-time students with families to help us get more affordable insurance.

Though insurance may cost an arm and a leg, the one positive thing out of this whole situation is NIU does have wonderful a staff that is willing to help answer any questions a student may have.

Benefits counselor Debra Ward and benefit supervisor Carole Balli can be found in the Health Services Building, Room 201.

I love NIU, I love being a Huskie and I love being able to receive a great education.

What I don’t love is having to worry about my wife getting sick without insurance.

NIU has to do something to lower the rates of health insurance for the sake of its students.