University of Central Florida considering making health insurance enrollment requirement

The University of Central Florida (UCF) is considering making students carry health insurance in order to enroll.

UCF doesn’t require students to carry insurance as a condition for enrollment, though other public universities often do—indeed, according to Dr. Michael Deichen, the director of UCF Health Services, there’s a push in higher education to make certain students are insured.

“The top 20 [public] schools in the nation have such requirements,” he said.

If UCF goes forward with such a requirement, which would need to be approved by the school’s Board of Trustees, it likely would not go into effect until 2015, Central Florida Future reports.

Deichen says this might allow students to purchase insurance with financial aid, something that isn’t currently possible, and should drop the price of insurance for everyone, not just those receiving federal aid.

The requirement would only apply to new students, though Deichen estimates that 20 to 30 percent of the student body either lacks a plan or is under-insured. UCF does offer a health plan for its students through UnitedHealthcare, a plan which is not available on the federal healthcare exchange.

The school, the second-largest public university in the country according to U.S. News & World Report, did have concerns that instituting a proof-of-insurance requirement could negatively impact its enrollment numbers.

However, it looked to Florida State University, which has seen no drop in enrollment after enacting such a requirement; students at FSU actually requested the requirement because of high medical care costs, according to Central Florida Future.

Student Government Association President Melissa Westbrook announced during the State of the University Address that UCF was considering adding the requirement according to Patrick Pabian, Physical Therapy Director and Clinical Associate Professor.

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