Source: NJ.com Gloucster
A visit to the campus Wellness Center at Rowan University won’t be free anymore, with students’ insurance providers being charged and those using services responsible for copays.
While the pending change is seen by university leaders as a way to improve health services at the growing Glassboro campus, others fear that paying for a visit and privacy issues the new system may create could deter those who most need help from seeking it.
This comes at a time when Rowan, like other colleges across the country is seeing a rise in demand for mental health counseling services. It was in December that a student took his own life, an event which remains fresh in the minds of those in the Rowan community.
At the growing campus there remain semester-long waits for those seeking counseling and despite the university’s contention it is focusing on providing that help, Student Government Association President Lauren Bitzer feels the number of counselors “is nowhere near sufficient” to meet the current needs.
“We will not deny anybody service for their ability to pay,” said Joe Cardona, vice president of university relations.
All Rowan students — the university has about 18,500 enrolled, 14,000 of them undergraduates — are required to have health insurance and many are still covered by their parents’ policies.
Students without insurance can purchase it through the university with rates ranging from $1,756 for an undergraduate to $3,465 for graduate students.
It’s the idea that parents will receive notice through their insurance carrier their child has visited the Wellness Center — and possible questions about the reason — that is raising concerns.
Along with the introduction of insurance billing, the Wellness Center will become part of Rowan Medicine, the university’s School of Osteopathic Medicine’s physician practice group, Rowan President Dr. Ali A. Houshmand, said in a letter distributed to the campus community.
He said the move, effective July 1, will give those on campus “broader access to health care professionals and services.”
Charging students’ insurance providers for services provided to them at the Wellness Center located in the campus’s Winans Hall, also requires copays be collected.
“College is expensive as is and the copay does nothing but create a financial burden. By imposing additional fees for services, students begin to lose their ability in receiving the help they need,” said Bitzer who is against the planned charges.