The health care system in the United States is not a socialized system as in many countries. Students on F-1 and J-1 visas are required to have major medical health insurance coverage while in the U.S. The extraordinarily high cost of health care in the U.S. surprises many students, and individuals are responsible for their own health care costs. The cost of health care in the U.S. is covered by acquiring adequate health insurance. Health insurance limits the amount of money that an individual is responsible for paying for routine office visits or emergency medical care. The University of Tampa has contracted with the Student Resources Division of UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company to offer a group health plan at reasonable rates. Health insurance fees are added to accounts of all registered international students for the fall and spring terms, relieving students of monthly individual payments and ensuring continuous coverage throughout the year. It is critical to understand how the health care and insurance systems work before they are needed to ensure that the proper steps are taken.
- It is essential that you read and understand the entire health care policy. It is your responsibility to find a health care provider who meets your needs and accepts your insurance.
- Keep your insurance card with you at all times and present it to the health care facility from which you are seeking care. Make sure you have the correct card for the facility you are at (students have a separate card for the University's Dickey Health and Wellness Center).
- Ask how the health care provider bills for service. Some providers bill your insurance directly, while others require payment in full from you, leaving you to seek reimbursement from the insurance company. It is important to ask this before care is received and to keep careful records of receipts and office visits.
- Complete claim forms accurately and respond quickly to any request for information from your insurance company. There is a time limit on most claims, so you need to act in a timely manner and follow the guidelines of your policy to avoid being responsible for the entire bill. Remember that the bill is still your responsibility until it is paid, regardless of having submitted the claim to the insurance company. Keep current on the status of your claim by calling your insurance company.
- Always make copies of all documents that you submit to the insurance company for your own records. This will ensure that you have a record of any actions you have taken, including payment.
- Keep a detailed record of all telephone conversations, including the name of the person you spoke to, date and time of your call, what the call was regarding, and what was said. Do not hesitate or be embarrassed about having the company representative repeat themselves or explain it in a way that you understand. It is very important that you understand what is happening regarding your claim.
- Unless experiencing a medical emergency, you will want to seek medical treatment from the Dickey Health and Wellness Center on campus to keep your costs low. The health center will determine whether a referral to a specialist is necessary. If you visit a health care provider without a referral from the campus health center, you will be responsible for an additional $100 deductible expense.
- You should only go to a hospital emergency room for serious illnesses, accidents and medical emergencies. If you feel like you need immediate medical attention, go directly to the hospital emergency room (Tampa General Hospital and other UnitedHealthcare Options PPO providers). You must then notify the Health Center on campus as well as your insurance company within 48 hours of your hospital visit.
- You will receive two cards with two different numbers from your insurance company. The card which ends in ‘01’ should only be used at the campus health center. The card which ends in ‘04’ is the card to use at all other health care facilities. Be very mindful of which card you are using; using the wrong card at an off-campus medical facility will result in a much higher cost for you and is very difficult to correct after the fact.
- The student insurance covers the entire calendar year. For the convenience of the student, half the annual rate is added to the fall semester bill and the other half will be added to the spring bill. Policies can also be purchased independently for any student dependents, and those enrollment applications can be obtained by contacting the insurance company directly.
There has recently been a significant change in health insurance requirements for all full-time undergraduate and all international students at The University of Tampa.
Compliance for student health plans as issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and required under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, now requires student health plans to be more comprehensive and have a dollar limit of not less than $100,000 for this upcoming academic year, which is set to increase incrementally in future years.
With these mandated higher levels of insurance benefits come increased costs. The University has worked hard to keep these increases to a minimum while meeting federal requirements. Beginning with the 2012 fall semester all full-time undergraduate and all international students will be assessed a student health fee of $345 on their fall and spring semester billing statements. No waivers of the student health fee will be allowed for any existing medical coverage.
In an effort to help offset this increase, the University will reduce the full-time student service fee from $485 per semester to $410 a semester.
We understand your concern about the unexpected and increased cost for the upcoming academic year. The University is required to comply with this legislative mandate. Providing all full-time students with easy access to on-campus primary care serves the student body as a whole and supports UT’s educational mission. We’ve also worked hard to add value to the University provided plan, understanding that in most cases your family health insurance may not accept University and Tampa Bay health care providers on an in-network basis. The program benefits, which are described at www.uhcsr.com, provide you with greater access to health care services on the UT campus while minimizing, and in most cases removing, any out-of-pocket costs.
Finally, UT is pleased to offer a broad range of health and wellness services which we believe will contribute to health and life quality for all students. To view a list of those services, as well as to read a FAQ with more details about the UT student health fee, go to www.ut.edu/studenthealthfee. You can also read an American College Health Association summary of the new student health insurance coverage regulations.
Health History and Immunization Requirements
International students should also complete the Student Health Information and Physical Examination Forms from UT. It is very important that you complete these forms and return them to the Dickey Health and Wellness Center prior to the beginning of classes. The staff at the health center will be unable to assist you with medical needs unless these forms are on file with them. If a student is not yet 18 years old, the Permission to Treat form must be signed by a parent or guardian before a student can be treated, so be sure to have this form signed before leaving home.
The health center must enforce the existing immunization policies that state that no student will be permitted to enter classes unless they are considered immune to measles. You may be considered immune if you provide documentation of at least one of the following:
- Documentation of immunization with two doses of live measles virus vaccine on or after the first birthday. Persons vaccinated with killed or an unknown vaccine prior to 1968 must be revaccinated. Persons born before 1957 do not need measles vaccine.
- Laboratory (serologic) evidence of measles immunity
- A written, dated statement by a physician on his or her stationary which specifies the date seen and states that the person has had an illness characterized by a generalized rash lasting three or more days, a fever of 101 degrees Fahrenheit or greater, a cough and conjunctivitis, and in the physician’s opinion, is diagnosed to have had the ten-day measles (rubeola).
In most cases, students will need a second immunization. If so, you will need to obtain it before arriving on campus. For more information about this requirement, please call the health center at (813) 258-7413.
It is strongly suggested that all students be vaccinated for Hepatitis B, a viral infection of the liver, and students living in on-campus housing are also required to provide proof of the meningitis vaccination within the past five years. There will be no access to residence halls without this vaccination. It is recommended that students get the meningitis vaccination before arriving, however, the on-campus health center will have vaccine available for a fee of around $115. The fee for the Hepatitis B vaccine is $30-$50 depending on your age.