Student Health Insurance 101 – CLG Workshop at IHouse

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Lizzy Huang
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When I first received my health insurance card, I was so confused about the numbers and the terms on the back of the card. How much am I going to pay if I am seeing a doctor?

To clear up some of these confusions, I attended a workshop hosted by Annette Moore that was focused on Duke Student Health and Health Insurance. This workshop answered questions and clarified common confusions about the coverage of the insurance plan, the procedure to schedule an appointment, etc.

How to Get an Appointment
There’re a couple ways that we can see a doctor inside or outside Duke Student Health Center.
1.    Schedule an appointment online through Duke MyChart.
2.    Call or visit the Student Health Center (919-681-9355) and we may be able to get a same-day-visit.
3.    We may also call Duke Student Health to refer us to a specialist or call the customer service number behind our insurance cards to schedule an appointment with a specialist. It may take longer to get an appointment in this case.

In-Network vs Out-of-Network
In-networks are providers that have contracts with the Blue Cross Blue Shields (BCBS) Insurance Plan, especially to the Duke Student Health Medical Plan (Blue Option or PBO). The copayment of each visit of an in-network provider will be either $25 (primary care providers) or $35 (specialists). Other services will be covered at least 80% by the insurance plan. However, the copayment of an out-of-network provider is determined by individual providers and the insurance plan will only cover 70% after $250 deductible. In other words, getting an in-network provider is a better financial option. The BCBS website provides a detailed list of providers that are in-network. Nurse Jean Hanson from Duke Student Wellness Center suggested that whenever we make a call to providers, that we ask them whether they participate in BCBS to make sure they’re in-network.

Flu Shot and Immunization
“Flu shot is coming. The first stop will be on East Campus,” Hanson said. Besides East Campus, the Duke Student Health Center will also offer flu shot at several locations including the Bryan Center, the Engineering School and the Nicolas School. Duke Student Health provides other types of immunization as well. The cost of preventive vaccines are 100% covered by the insurance plan.

Optical and Dental Coverage
I was glad to learn that a routine eye exam is 100% covered. The Plan also covers up to $100 for lens, frames, or contact lens. However, dental service is not included in this medical plan. As an alternative, BASIX provides a list of discounted provider (from 10%-30%) for Duke students. The Dental Blue Insurance is another option. Regardless, if you experience sudden tooth pain or swollen gum, Student Health Center can offer antibiotics or other medicines to reduce the pain before you reach a dentist.   

As master student Chenfei Hu said at the beginning of the workshop, a lot of international students, especially those from Asian countries, have difficulty understanding the medical procedure in the United States. It is important for these students to learn about the health benefits available to them so that they can take advantage of these resources.

“If you’re sick, please come to Student Health and see us,” Kelan Beachem, Duke Student Health Insurance Manager, stressed at last.

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