International students react to health insurance requirements

Student Development sent an email on March 24 informing students of new health insurance options for the 2016-2017 academic year.
After Wheaton abandoned the Student Health Insurance Plan last year, hundreds of students were forced to find their own plans outside of the college’s coverage. But now, per the recommendation of the Student Insurance Task Force, the college will be implementing several new requirements for health insurance.
International students will be required to obtain an accident and illness insurance plan, which will be offered by the college. A Hardship Fund will also be established for students who will pay a “higher than expected” insurance premium, or two insurance premiums, in order to fulfill the new requirements.
“There aren’t options. That is a really bad thing,” said one international student who wished to remain anonymous. “I feel like the college is trying to do something great but is just forcing the students to do the same thing.”
Sophomore Simona Andreas also expressed concern for the new requirement and said “I don’t like that it is mandatory since it will cost more to every F-1 student here.”
“I think the administration have done a great job in providing an insurance plan that is fairly cheap and easy to enroll in, especially after the previous conflicts with the government,” said sophomore Tim Kartawijaya. While Kartawijaya appreciates Wheaton’s efforts, he would prefer to stay on the plan he adopted when Wheaton discontinued the program last year, as it would remain free through the company he used.
Vice president for student development Paul Chelsen said that Wheaton is “closely monitoring the legal landscape” and will continue to explore future health insurance options for students.

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