USC’s student health care plan will adapt to new legislation, including President Barack Obama’s proposal to reduce the cost of copays and eliminate the cost of contraceptives, if passed.
On Friday, Obama announced a mandate in response to institutions that do not provide female employees with free contraceptives.
Nearly 99 percent of all women have relied on contraception at some point in their lives and more than half of all women between the ages of 18 and 34 have struggled to afford it, according to the White House.
Dr. Lawrence Neinstein, a professor of pediatrics and medicine, said it is difficult to speculate on the outcome of Obama’s proposal.
“So much of the health care reform plan is up in air and not all is exactly firm as to what will happen when,” Neinstein said. “However, on the student side, we already comply with much of already passed health care reform.”
Kari Trotter Wall, director of the University Park Campus Pharmacy, said Obama’s proposed plan would only affect out-of-pocket costs.
“If a student is on a [non-USC] insurance plan that does not cover contraceptive care, they would benefit from the proposed mandate policy,” Wall said.
USC’s Student Health Insurance Plan is automatically applied to all students enrolled in six or more units, and to all international students and students at the Health Sciences Campus regardless of unit enrollment.
Students are eligible to use insurance companies not offered by the university only if it provides equivalent coverage and meets policy criteria.
Each USC student’s copay, or additional payment per medical expense, depends on that individual’s insurance provider and plan. Neinstein said if the legislation passes, all insurance rates will rise as benefits increase.
“These services are not subsidized by the federal or state government,” Neinstein said. “So this will be an interesting problem as increased services are required by health care reform. That issue is a national issue.”
Some students said the legislation would benefit them because they probably would not have to pay for USC’s insurance. Sruthi Pothireddy, a senior majoring in business administration, said she was disappointed the legislation is being proposed at the end of her college career.
“I’m an out-of-state student, and it’s mandatory that I enroll in the USC Student insurance policy with Aetna because my parents’ insurance could not be waved to cover the university requirements,” Reddy said. “It’s a bummer because I’m a senior, so even if it passes, it won’t affect me.”