Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Healing Augie’s need for student healthcare

As Augustana College continues to prioritize the well-being of its student body, a critical question emerges: Should the institution offer healthcare coverage for its students again? Due to financial constraints, Augustana opted out of offering students the option of campus insurance beginning in the 2023-2024 school year. However, as the college requires students to have health insurance, Augustana should do more to provide accessible healthcare, starting with providing health insurance for its students again. 

Augustana mandates that all students provide proof of insurance annually, offering students recommendations for health insurance coverage in place of campus insurance, but this requirement doesn’t guarantee that every student has adequate coverage. For students without access to healthcare through their families or other means, offering a comprehensive healthcare plan ensures they can receive necessary medical services without financial barriers while on campus. Augustana used to offer health insurance up until this year. Now they only recommend insurance options to students.

Yes, the presence of the Augustana Convenient Care Clinic signifies that Augustana recognizes the importance of healthcare accessibility, but even this has barriers. Limited hours and the cost of some services requiring insurance coverage may pose financial barriers for students. 

The campus clinic does provide valuable services, but these only complement, rather than replace, comprehensive health insurance coverage, meaning there is still a very clear need within the student population left unaddressed. 

By offering healthcare plans compliant with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Augustana would further enhance accessibility to essential medical services for its diverse student population.

With educational institutions like Augustana already facing tight budgets, the prospect of shouldering the financial burden of healthcare coverage raises valid concerns. 

That being said, a college is nothing without its students and it’s essential to consider alternative funding sources and reallocate resources to prioritize student welfare.

The success of the campus’ annual Day of Giving demonstrates Augustana’s capacity to collect and redirect resources toward initiatives that benefit student well-being. Given this is a possible redistribution of funds, Augustana can demonstrate its commitment to student wellness and medical support without significantly straining its budget.

Furthermore, offering healthcare coverage for students aligns with the institution’s mission of fostering a supportive and inclusive campus community. By prioritizing student health, Augustana reinforces its dedication to nurturing the physical and emotional well-being of its students, ultimately enhancing the overall collegiate experience.

Despite the availability of external healthcare options for students, there are logistical challenges and uncertainties that students may face when navigating these options. Augustana can streamline the process by offering ACA-compliant healthcare plans tailored to the needs of its student population, simplifying the healthcare enrollment process and ensuring that students have access to comprehensive coverage that meets their specific needs.

Offering healthcare coverage for students promotes continuity of care, particularly for those with pre-existing medical conditions or ongoing healthcare needs. Having accessible, reliable medical care enhances students’ overall health outcomes and academic success.

The provision of healthcare coverage for students at Augustana College is a vital step towards prioritizing student welfare and fostering a supportive campus community. By ensuring accessibility to essential medical services and addressing financial concerns through redistributing funds towards student health insurance plans, Augustana can demonstrate its commitment to student support. As educational institutions continue to evolve, prioritizing student health should remain a critical element of their mission and values.


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