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Proposal for Changing the ASU Health Policy, Essay Example

Pages: 5

Words: 1244

Essay

Subject: A proposal to improve the health insurance program offered to international students at ASU

Proposal Purpose

With this proposal I will argue that ASU needs to improve its health insurance benefits offered to international students. The University currently proposes that international students have to enroll in the health insurance benefits program offered by the school. However, if said student receives health benefits from his or her own country’s government, they may use that instead, or if said student was awarded a scholarship that will cover health benefit costs, he or she may use that.

The issue with this current policy is that some international students have neither government assistance, nor do they have scholarships to supplement their incomes. Those students cannot afford to pay in excess of $900 each semester to adhere to the strict health care requirements implemented by the University. Furthermore, some international students who do have scholarships are not allowed to receive the same benefits offered to students without those scholarships. It is important to note that governmental healthcare benefits offered to international students without scholarships are far more comprehensive than the benefits that students with scholarships are afforded.

The Problem with the Current Health Insurance Option

All international students at Arizona State University will automatically be enrolled in the university’s health insurance program. However, if said student is covered under his or her government, or if the student receives a scholarship that covers some of his or her health insurance needs, they are not required to obtain the mandatory insurance. It is important to note that the aforementioned exceptions have to be approved by the school’s administration and have to be equal to, or exceed the coverage offered by the school’s insurance program. In essence, international students’ health insurance must adhere to the following stipulations:

  • An international student at ASU must have insurance that is similar or superior to the ABOR-sponsored insurance plan. For the 2012-2013 academic years it will be a $1,000,000 yearly maximum.
  • The insurance plan must cover preventive care at no additional cost to the student. It must include all annual physical exams that cover STD testing, flu shots, mammogram screenings, and colonoscopy screenings.
  • Other aspects that have to be covered under the student’s insurance plan include behavioral health, emergency care, hospital care, and primary care.
  • All pre-existing conditions must also be covered under the student’s insurance plan.
  • The student’s insurance must be paid for in American dollars and policies have to be made available in English (Arizona State University, 2012)

The primary problem with this policy is that some international students have scholarships that do not cover these stipulations. As such, they have to pay out-of-pocket to ensure compliance with the school’s regulations. In addition, many students receive benefits through their governments that are sufficient to each student’s needs, but that do not meet the needs of the university. The effect of this is that international students (who already have health insurance either through a scholarship or through their government) have to somehow produce more money to pay for additional insurance that meets the standards of the university. Not all international students have readily available funds to make this a reality. Examples of this can be seen supported through interviews carried out between a select group of international students at ASU. Akmed, who originally stems from Turkey, which has a more centralized healthcare system, came to the U.S. used to a healthcare system where only 2% of his population had private healthcare. He also had Turkish international student insurance which covered the cost of emergency medical care, hospitalization, mental health and prescription medication. When interviewed he said, “without my country’s medical coverage, I’m not sure I would feel secure going to the doctor here in the U.S. I have heard stories of people going to the hospital without coverage and leaving with thousands of dollars in Hospital bills.” Another student from Korea noted that her healthcare coverage offered by her government barely covered the cost of a checkup. She also was diagnosed with being bipolar, but as her coverage did not cover this condition overseas, so by ASU policy, she was required to pay for the coverage from her country in addition to the overpriced U.S. option.

ASU states that it offers “an affordable medical insurance policy to students and their dependents,” (Arizona State University, 2012); however, the cost of obtaining insurance through the university is staggering. For example, coverage for an international student for the 2012-2013 Fall semesters is $623. If that student chooses to add his or her dependents, the cost rises to $2,569. Similarly, health coverage for the Spring semester is $989 for a single students and up to $4,080 if the student chooses to add his or her dependents (Arizona State University, 2012).

In addition, ASU requires that the student pays for his or her health insurance in full upon registration and enrolment. When all these costs are added together, it becomes a nearly impossible task for an international student (who is not legally authorized to earn an income in the U.S.) to afford this mandated insurance.

Solution to the Current Problem

My suggestion, therefore, is that international students should have an option to choose which type of health insurance package they want to use. In order for that to happen, ASU should revise its healthcare policies for international students. As you may, or may not, be aware, international student s have certain visa restrictions. This means that they enter the U.S. with predestined limitations. As such, the large majority of international students come to the U.S. to have an improved scholarly experience; however, many of them are not authorized to work and earn money in the country during their schooling years. In other words, with the exception of scholarships or governmental assistance, many have no other means to generate an income. It is therefore an additional burden for them to be required to purchase a health insurance package for a large sum of money each semester. In addition, many of the benefits associated with these healthcare packages pale in comparison to other packages that exist for a lower cost. Yet, due to ASU regulations, international students have only three options for health insurance, and all three essentially center on the fact that international students are mandated to pay for comprehensive coverage as stipulated by the school. In summary, international students at ASU are exempt from purchasing the mandated insurance if their scholarship or country of residence offers or covers similar, or better, insurance.

It would therefore be a great benefit to the international student community at ASU if the University’s policy makers could revise the system to offer equal health benefits to all students, regardless of income, or national origin. In other words, if an international student has a scholarship that covers a part of the student’s health insurance coverage, the decision to purchase more insurance should fall on the student, not the school. If the student is comfortable with limited coverage, then that should be his or her choice. It is important to note that international students countrywide may are only accepted into colleges and universities after they have completed comprehensive health screenings and immunizations. It is therefore safe to assume that the majority of international students are in good health upon entering the U.S. Granted people can get sick at a moment’s notice, but it should be that person’s choice about the extent of health coverage he or she would like to purchase.

References

Arizona State University. (2012). International Student Health Information. Retrieved from asu.edu: https://students.asu.edu/internationalstudenthealth

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