WHAT THE HEALTH?!?

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Illustration by Marika Van de Kamp

Portland State cares about the physical and mental health of its students. I’ll walk you through the need-to-know basics of personal health at PSU.

Health insurance requirements

As students at PSU, we’re required to have adequate health insurance. This requirement can be somewhat of a shock for new students, so here’s the lowdown on PSU insurance.

PSU automatically enrolls eligible students in its PacificSource insurance plan. The plan is open to domestic students taking five or more credits and international students taking one or more credits. These eligibility requirements apply each term—if at any point a student drops below the credit requirement, they’ll lose their PSU-provided insurance. 

Cost

The student health insurance plan for the 2017–18 academic year costs $875 per term, with the exception of summer, which costs $631 if you did not pay for insurance during spring term:
—Fall Term $875
—Winter Term $875
—Spring/Summer $875
—Summer Only $631

The 2016–17 insurance plan ends September 19, 2017.

Health Insurance Waiver Criteria:
Domestic Students: In order to waive out of the PSU Student Health Insurance Plan, you must have health insurance. Your outside health insurance plan must meet these three criteria in order to get an approved waiver:
—$2,500 or less individual deductible
—70 percent or greater coinsurance for Inpatient Hospitalization
—Access to primary care services in Oregon
—Oregon Health Plan (OHP) qualifies for the waiver; FamilyCare and HealthShare both qualify. These are nearly-free options for qualifying low-income Oregon residents.

International students attending PSU on J1 or F1 visas may only waive out if they meet one of the following, and meet the criteria listed above.
—You are on a J1 visa and have adequate health insurance that was purchased before arrival in to the U.S.
—Your government or embassy pays for your tuition/fees AND provides you health insurance through a U.S. insurance company.
—You have U.S. health insurance through your/spouse’s/parent’s U.S. employer.

Fall: Sept. 20, 2017–Jan. 7, 2018. WAIVER DEADLINE: Oct. 8, 2017
Winter: Jan. 8, 2018–April, 1, 2018. WAIVER DEADLINE: Jan. 21, 2018
Spring & Summer: April 2, 2018–Aug. 19, 2018. WAIVER DEADLINE: April 15, 2018
Summer Only: June 25, 2018–Sept. 19, 2018. WAIVER DEADLINE: July 8, 2018

What is SHAC?

All students taking more than five credits are eligible for services at Student Health and Counseling. Regardless of what insurance you may have, services are covered by the mandatory student health fee. In fact, most services are covered by this fee and all eligible students are able to see a provider at no cost. Some services, such as x-rays and lab work, have an additional fee. This is typically covered by the PSU insurance plan and can be billed to outside providers. A more in-depth breakdown of SHAC fees can be found online.

Students have access to the health clinic that offers routine medical care, immunizations, education, urgent care, acupuncture, and more. They also have free cough drops, condoms, and OTC pain medication.

As the name suggests, SHAC provides counseling in multiple forms. SHAC offers individual, group and crisis counseling, and psychiatric care. Meeting with counseling staff is already covered under the student health fee, and specific assessments are available at additional costs. There are also daily walk-in hours during the week where you can meet with somebody at no cost and without an appointment for any number of issues.

The exception to this health fee pattern is in the dental department. All services there are on a fee-for-service basis and aren’t covered under the student health fee. All students taking at least one credit are eligible though, so you can receive treatment even if you are uninsured. Dental fees are billed to your student account, and claims can also be submitted to private insurance for potential reimbursement. SHAC Dental Services claims its “cost of services is greatly reduced compared to those of a private dental clinic.” Again, a breakdown of these fees is listed on the SHAC website.

If any of these health services aren’t an option for you, seeking referrals is always an alternative. Community resources for dental care, addiction recovery and trans-healthcare are listed on the website in addition to health promotion. Insurance and health care specifics are notoriously difficult to navigate. Whatever your situation, there are resources on campus to help you be the healthiest version of yourself.

Additional reporting by Thomas Spoelhof and Colleen Leary.

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