An unexpected trip to the emergency room can lead to expensive bills when one doesn't have health insurance. To help students avoid situations like these, the Office of Wellness and Community Responsibility (OWCR) hosted an affordable health insurance event on Nov. 20 in room 250 of the Student Center.
Certified enrollment agents from the Washtenaw Health Initiative (WHI) spoke with students to help them look for the best insurance plan based on their coverage needs and financial plan. Depending on student needs and eligibility, agents of WHI determined if Medicaid or Marketplace Insurance would work best for them.
Nick Pomante, EMU's Student Wellness Coordinator, explained the two main goals of the event.
"The first is to sign people up who currently don't have health insurance coverage," Pomante said. "The second is to determine if an individual is eligible to receive free health insurance [Medicaid] or help reduce the cost of insurance [Marketplace insurance subsidies]."
"The overall goal is that all EMU students have health insurance," Pomante added. "This event is one way we're working toward that goal."
Many college students may not consider looking into health insurance.
"Having health insurance coverage is one of the most important things a student can do for their health and success in college," Pomante explained. "Having surgery on a broken arm will cost about $10,000 if you don't have insurance. This cost inhibits a students financial ability to enroll in classes and complete a degree."
The perks of attending the event was not only getting affordable health insurance but enjoying a free cup of apple cider and receiving a Cold Season Survival Pack.
Kelsi Thomas, Benefit Advocate at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital and upcoming EMU graduate, believes it is important for students to have health insurance.
"We unfortunately live in dangerous times," Thomas said. "It's good to have coverage."
Thomas hopes that after the event, students realize just how important health insurance really is.
"You can rack up a lot of medical bills," Thomas explained. "Young people don't need damage to their credit. They need to focus on their mental, physical and spiritual health."
Brice Marich, a student looking to enroll at EMU, came to the event to learn about the different benefits being offered.
When asked about the importance of health insurance, Marich said: "I've seen people without health insurance and what happens if you don't have it." He explained. "I don't want to be in that hole."
If you didn't get the chance to stop by the event, you can enroll for health coverage at healthcare.gov until December 15th.
To learn more about the OWCR, their mission and upcoming events, visit their Facebook page (@EMUwcr).