Student health insurance broken down to basics during forum

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Amy Wakefield, as well as other graduate students, feels like applying for student health insurance is as difficult as reading another language.

She was kicked off the application process when she applied in November and was at a standstill. Wakefield feels it has changed after attending the open forum Tuesday afternoon, which presented the affordable health care website, and informed students how to apply for insurance and what to be prepared for.

Wakefield came to the forum because she wanted more information about health care.

“I heard it was available and it sounded informative,” she said. “It is nice of the University to provide this.”

The Student Insurance office hosted the forum and Marlene Reynolds, who works for the insurance office, attended the session.

“The Affordable Care Act is the biggest change in 20 years,” she said. “It’s confusing, we wanted to educate students so they can make the best decision for them.”

One of the slides the speaker Anna Gartner made compared the University’s health insurance with other plans offered.

Compared to some plans that only cover a maximum of three visits to physicians per year, the University’s plan helps cover all and even goes farther to cover dental as well.

“I think it clicked with students to see the school’s plan compared to the other plans in the market,” Reynolds said.

And it did for junior Nicole Neely, who came to be the liaison for the Undergraduate Student Government and to inform other students about the information she learned.

“The comparison between BGSU’s plan and the others were interesting,” she said. “Some students don’t know how good of a plan we have and it’s good if students aren’t under their parents [insurance] to know.”

Gartner, navigator trainer and quality improvement coordinator, answered questions the students had and gave information about the application process.

“It takes a minimum of two hours if you know what you’re doing,” she said during the forum. “So make sure you have plenty of time.”

The target audience for Gartner was graduate students looking for options after they are off the University’s plan.

“Because the Affordable Health Care Act allows students to be under their parents [insurance] until the age of 26, they don’t need to worry right away,” she said. “It doesn’t hurt to learn at an arm’s length because things change.”

Now that Wakefield was able to ask Gartner questions concerning her plan, she feels confident to retry and apply for health coverage.

“I’m excited to get back and finish,” she said. “It was helpful to see what I needed to get to make the best decision for me.”

Gartner loved to answer the questions about the health care plan and to help people.

“Before, I was sitting there looking into someone’s eyes and seeing they have nowhere to go, but now they do,” she said. “They don’t have to wait to go to the emergency room when they can’t take it anymore. People can afford coverage and help themselves now.”

If students find they need help about applying for health insurance, they can contact Neighborhood Health Association Navigator Program at 419-214-0043.