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Olin offers new subsidy, free visits

April 27, 2001

Thanks to MSU and Ingham County health officials, Olin Health Center will soon be able to offer increased health care to more students.

Olin and the Ingham County Health Plan Corporation will launch the Student Health Subsidy Program on August 15, which will provide more than $1.1 million in health care for qualifying low-income students.

“We are tickled pink,” Olin Director Dr. Glynda Moorer said. “I was very excited when we heard about this opportunity to serve more people.”

The service will provide $1,400 per year for prescriptions, unlimited visits to Olin, university recommended vaccinations as well as immunizations and medications needed for study abroad programs.

In order to qualify for the service, a student’s total family income must be less than 225 percent of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ poverty guidelines. For a single person, that income would be less than $19,328 per year and $39,713 for a family of four per year.

The student must also not be eligible for state or federal health insurance programs such as Medicare, Medicaid or the state medical program.

University officials estimate about 18 percent of undergraduates and 26 percent of graduate students will be eligible for the health subsidy.

Moorer said Olin and university officials saw a need for the program, especially for prescriptions, because it’s very difficult for people who don’t have insurance to get medication and immunizations, she said.

“We don’t want immunizations to be a barrier for people,” she said, referring to university policy that requires students to receive immunizations before studying abroad.

Olin officials have been collaborating with Ingham Health Plan representatives for the past few months. A mass e-mail, sent to students Thursday, was the first announcement of the program.

In addition to the health subsidy, a new policy on visits to Olin will also be implemented in August.

Currently full-time students are allowed an unlimited number of visits to Olin and part-time students are required to purchase a health card that also allows them unlimited visits to the center. Starting August 15, all students will be allowed three free visits.

The fourth and subsequent visits will be billed to the student or their insurance company. The plan includes all visits but doesn’t include extras such as X-rays, physical therapy or eye care.

While Moorer said the plan could cost students more because they used to have unlimited visits, 85 percent of students who visit Olin use it three or fewer times per year, so they will not see the effects.

Mechanical engineering senior Chris Nadson said Olin is a convenient alternative to an off-campus clinic, and he thinks the plan will work because students don’t need more than three visits per year.

“I’ve never been there more than twice in a year,” Nadson said. “If you are sick more than three times and you need to go to Olin still, that’s not good.”

Staff writer Nicole Jacques contributed to this report.

Amy E. Stanton can be reached at stanto32@msu.edu.

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