The university looked at the possibility of billing insurance companies for the STD exams, which would make it the students’ responsibility to pay the costs insurance companies did not. In the last several years, the health center saw its yearly testing and processing expenses reach $600,000. This cost is expected to increase to nearly $700,000 for the 2019 fiscal year.
When administrators contemplated the idea of shifting the STD testing costs, a large number of students were quick to condemn the move. A petition, which was created by the Students of Equitable Health Care at UM to get them to reconsider the idea, garnered 5,200 students in just two days.
The petition read that the university’s move would significantly affect the lower-income students – the ones who have the most difficult time getting medical care when the preventable STIs are left untreated and lead to other serious complications such as PID. He said the costs are not a savings but an increase in costs on those less likely to have healthcare coverage.
The university dropped the idea, and the health center’s executive director said the payment process for STDs should not hinder any student looking to get tested and medical care.
Written by Mark Riegel, MD
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