Health care is complicated. In the past, your parents probably handled your health insurance, and they might even have scheduled all your doctor’s appointments. You may have even had the same doctor your entire life.

Now you’re in a new town, away from your parents and your health is in your own hands. How do you find a doctor? What is a deductible? The MU Student Health Center can answer your questions.

What is the Student Health Center?

The Student Health Center is located on the south side of campus, near Virginia Avenue Parking Garage, and provides services ranging from basic office visits to yoga and stress management.

If you take at least seven credit hours, many services are free because you are charged a health fee at the beginning of each semester. This fee also supports up to four free mental health services through the Behavioral Health Center.

The only cost of a doctor’s visit to the Student Health Center is the co-pay from your insurance company. However, medications and tests ordered by your doctor are not covered by the health fee and will be billed to your insurance, so you may end up paying part of the cost out-of-pocket depending on your insurance policy.

Check out the Student Health Center’s website at studenthealth.missouri.edu for more information.

How to set up an appointment

The Student Health Center doesn’t accept walk-ins. Call their main number, 573-882-7481, any time between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and you can usually get an appointment the same or next day. On Wednesdays, the center opens at 9 a.m.

When you come in for your appointment, here is some information you need to bring:

  • Insurance and prescription cards
  • Parents’ birth dates, including the year
  • Past medical problems or surgeries
  • A list of any medications you take
  • A list of drug, food or environmental allergies
  • Family medical history

Insurance

Insurance jargon can be really confusing sometimes, so here’s a list of some words you need to know.

  • Out-of-pocket costs:
    • The health care expenses that are your responsibility to pay.
  • Deductible:
    • The total amount you must pay before your insurance company begins contributing. This means that until you meet your deductible, you are responsible for all of your healthcare costs. Once you meet your deductible, however, your insurance company will start splitting the cost of your health care with you.
  • Co-pay:
    • A flat fee for certain health care services once your deductible has been met. For example, instead of paying for the full cost of an appointment you will only pay the co-pay.
  • Co-insurance:
    • This describes how you share health bills with your insurance company, depending on your policy. For example, if your policy is 80/20, that means your insurance company pays 80 percent of the cost of a procedure and you pay 20 percent.

    Don’t have insurance? No worries. MU offers a student insurance plan through Aetna. For more information about the policy and how to enroll, visit aetnastudenthealth.com.

    If you can’t afford insurance, there are several free and reduced-cost health care options in Columbia such as the MedZou Community Health Clinic and the Family Health Center.

    • Staff Photographer, Fall 2018 | General Assignment Reporter, Summer 2018 | senior studying photojournalism

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