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Health insurance during med school

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by MacGyver, Feb 9, 2002.

  1. MacGyver

    MacGyver Banned Banned

    Aug 8, 2001
    As an MSTP (MD/PhD) applicant all of the programs I've applied to supply you with free health insurance.

    I'm assuming thats not unique to MSTP and that regular MD students also get it.

    My question is... does that generally include eye coverage for checkups, contacts, etc? I lost one of my contacts so I've just been wearing one for a couple of months. I know thats not the best thing to do, but I cant afford the charges for eye coverage and I dont have health insurance. So I was just going to wait about 5 more months (MSTP programs give you the option of starting in June usually) and then after I'm covered with insurance thru the school I will get the replacement contact.

    I know each school might be differnet but whats the norm?
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  3. Dr. Kermit

    Dr. Kermit Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Aug 10, 2001
    Bronx, NY
    Yes, both MSTP and MD programs provide full health and dental coverage. It includes everything your medical coverage provided you such as medical exams, ER visits, away from home coverage, eye exams, prenatal exams, etc. From what I have read at most of the schools I'm considering, the healthcare is usually provided by the hospital system with which the medical school is associated (i.e. Pitt offers UPMC medical insurance) or they contract with Blue Cross/Blue Shield using a PPO service. (Med schools tend to use a PPO as opposed to a HMO so you can see doctors within the service at school and at home, in case you want to keep your doctor at home.) I hope this helps you out.

    Also, I was temporarily not covered with insurance since my dad's policy only covered me until 22 regardless of my student status. So, when I wasn't covered, I went to an independent eye doctor associated with a chain to get an eye exam and contacts. (A few I can think of are Sears, JC Penny, Eye and Ear, America's Best Contacts and Eyeglasses.) You can pay about $20 for an eye exam and then they usually have deals for $50-$100 for regular or disposable contacts. It's a lot less than going to Pearle Vision or LensCrafters and a little more than using insurance, but it beats only wearing one contact! Plus if you're working or driving and something happens, you don't want to be held liable for not having corrected vision!
  4. omores

    omores sleep deprived 10+ Year Member

    Jul 2, 2000
    My school's health insurance does not include optometrist visits, glasses/contacts, or dental, alas. Also, many policies (including my school's) involve co-payments and deductibles, so you generally end up shelling out some money regardless.
  5. medical22

    medical22 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 15, 2001
    I didn't know that one is covered for health insurance when pursuing an MD. It's good to know that.

    BTW, Omores, which school do you attend?
  6. omores

    omores sleep deprived 10+ Year Member

    Jul 2, 2000
    Medical: I'm at Duke. And yes, it is lovely to have health insurance, even if it doesn't cover my eyes or teeth.

    In medical school, you'll not only "book-learn" about viruses and bacteria and how they affect your body, you'll also get to experience it first-hand! Hooray! Nothing like "learning by doing" to make sure you know the pathophysiology of your respiratory system. Over the past several months, I've gotten one (minor) bug after another, as did many of my classmates. So yes, medical insurance is a wonderful thing.

    <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" /> :p :rolleyes: :p <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />
  7. glacierdropsy

    glacierdropsy Member 7+ Year Member

    May 14, 2001
    Not to bring up an old topic but I don't think GW provides health insurance to its med students because on the contract is says that you must provide proof of health insurance at orientation. Am I missing anything here? Because that would kinda suck if all other med schools provide health insurance but GW didn't.
  8. lilycat

    lilycat Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Aug 12, 2000
    I think there's some oversimplification going on here.

    For regular MD students, most schools that I'm aware of provide you with the opportunity to join in their healthcare plan, which is usually some variation on an HMO. Monthly fees should be in the $100-200 range, and there are deductibles and copays like omores mentioned. These monthly fees are "covered" in your bill from the bursar's office when you start school -- the bill that includes your tuition and any other associated fees. So you are paying for your health insurance, either privately, through loans, or if you receive a scholarship, that may cover the cost of your health insurance.

    Alternately, if you don't want to join in the school-sponsored plan, you can get your own health insurance, either privately or through your parents. However, you must make sure that policy meets the minimum requirements stipulated by your school. The Student Affairs office should have this information for you. This is what the school means when they ask for "proof of insurance" upon matriculation.

    For MSTP/MD,PhD students, I'm guessing that the cost of their insurance is taken up by the school since their other costs are covered as well.

    As for what the insurance covers, it varies a lot by school. Some cover basic eye exams, some don't; very few will cover optometry exams (ie, renewing a prescription for contacts or glasses). They also differ a lot on self-referring policies (some policies allow you to self-refer to dermatologists, ophthalmologists, ob/gyn's, etc., others require a referral from your PCP first).

    MacGyver -- regarding your contact problem -- your best solution would probably be to go to Eye Exam 2000 (usually associated with LensCrafters) or another optometry office associated with glass/contact lens sales. Eye Exam 2000 usually charges $40-$75 for an exam, and you get a new prescription for your contacts to fill anywhere. I'm sure the quality varies from store to store, but I've been to two of them when I was without insurance, and I didn't notice a difference in care between that and my usual clinic. If anything, Eye Exam 2000 tended to be a little more thorough.
  9. Wahoo

    Wahoo Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Aug 25, 2001
    What about prescription drugs? are these usually part of a med school's provided package?
    I assume so, but just wanted to check.
  10. Whisker Barrel Cortex

    Whisker Barrel Cortex 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Aug 10, 2001
    We pay about $1500 a year for health insurance which is included in our bill but is NOT FREE. We can take out extra loans to cover this expense. There is a large ($500) deductible and prescription coverage is with co-pay of $10 for generics, 20$ for brand name, and $30 for expensive drugs. There is optional dental and eye coverage for 20 and 10 dollars a month, respectively. From what I have heard from attendings and residents who have gone to other med schools, this was pretty similar to their schools.

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