A Guide to Finding Health Care in College

A Guide to Finding Health Care in College

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How you can find a primary care and take advantage of UT’s Health Center 

As college students, it can be hard to find the time to keep our physical and mental wellness in check. Health can easily fall to the bottom of our list of priorities due to busy schedules and financial hardship.

A survey by Statista reported that in 2021, only 54 percent of college students surveyed agreed that their well-being was a priority. Not only this, but the U.S. Census Bureau reported that only 35.7 percent of people had public coverage in 2021. Reports say this number is increasing, but the majority of all Americans, including students, do not have the ability to secure year-round coverage. 

Fortunately, UT offers services at the Student Health Center to overcome the challenges that halt students from taking care of themselves. We have access to care that fits into our schedule and is of no additional cost. At the Student Health Center, the community focuses on prevention, understanding disease patterns and having quick responses to emergencies. 

As an enrolled student at UT, your student programs and services fees are included in semester tuition costs and paid for before classes begin. By paying this, you are immediately eligible for care at the center and the UT Medical Center Emergency Room. The ER is available for students at any time. The ER is open when the health center is not available as it closes when the university does. 

The Student Health Center offers a range of services that can be used in place of having an outside general physician so you can acquire regular care. There are various clinics and specialty service areas to meet the needs of all students: 

  • Sick clinic 
  • Sports Medicine/Physical Therapy
  • Telemedicine 
  • Well Clinic
  • Women’s Health
  • Allergy/Immunization 
  • Gynecology 
  • Laboratory
  • Physical Exam Section
  • Radiology 
  • Surgery 
  • Travel Clinic
  • EverlyWell Covid-19 Home Collection Kits 

All of these services are listed under Clinics, Services, and Staff with phone numbers under each specialty. There is more information about each service and scheduling to best assist students. 

Merrie Urban, a senior at UT, recently used the health center for her minor health care needs that included lab work and prescriptions that were an affordable price for Urban.

“You have to call very early because most sick appointments are same day scheduling only. They are very understanding and willing to help with absence notes,” Urban said. 

Pre-veterinary major, Reagan Johnson, has utilized the center for more major care. The care she received felt more efficient than off campus healthcare, and went beyond what the UTMC ER could offer. Johnson has had appointments to help with recurring seizures as well as with the women’s health center. 

“This time I went, I was referred to a neurologist, psychiatrist and other general physicians… I was taken seriously and had a multitude of tests taken…I was placed on services to help me get around campus and do class work,” Johnson said. 

For these services, payment the day of is not required and the balance is sent to the Bursar’s office. This debt will show on your student account and can be paid to Bursar at your leisure. The health center is prepared to meet a diverse set of needs from students to ensure their success in finding care. 

An M.D. of Family and Sports Medicine at the health center, Rebecca L. Morgan explains that the services are designed to help students with acute and chronic issues to all enrolled students who have paid their service fees. 

“The health center has primary care, acute care, women’s health and sports medicine providers. If a student has a more complicated health history, it is best to establish with a community provider that is more well equipped for comprehensive care,” Morgan said. 

Furthermore, not everything is of no cost: inducing lab work, immunizations, injections, x-rays, physical therapy and some speciality appointments can incur other fees. This is where the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) comes into play to cover these services. For annual coverage, the cost is $2,688. You can also pay by semester which makes it $1,120. 

With this plan, the health center medical providers become your primary care physicians and covers 100% of services including deductibles. After meeting one deductible, the price you pay goes down. The SHIP website has a detailed example of how payments work. 

By going to the preferred provider by the health center, there are no deductibles, copays or coinsurance. There are no limits to see a general physician, but only limits to a certain number of appoints per injury or sickness, not in a year of coverage: 

  • 20 visits each of physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and manipulative therapy 
  • 36 visits of cardiac rehabilitation therapy

SHIP is meant to complement the medical care provided by the Student Health Center. With the insurance, students can be referred to off campus providers if necessary. This plan is completely optional, and not all students should sign up. You can contact the health center to see if this plan would be best for your medical needs. 

As UT students, there are many services you can regularly take advantage of to put your health and wellness first. It is inevitable that you will get sick, suffer an injury or need mental health support. The Student Health Center can help you recover and prevent future illnesses. This will ensure success as a student and allow you to  live a healthy lifestyle