Bring back EMSAcare, safety net for uninsured students

If you live in an apartment, you were at some point in the past week probably asked to sign a form acknowledging that the University of Tulsa has opted out of the EMSAcare program.

The program adds $5.45 onto residents’ monthly utility bill, so that those who need EMSA transportation aren’t burdened with the $1,300 charge.

That the University decided to opt out of the program without consulting the students who live here or even making a conscious effort to educate us about the program seems a bit selfish.

Surely out of the $3,052 I pay for my apartment each semester, $27.25 could be allocated to pay for the EMSAcare program. It could even be added on to my apartment charge.

It’s not like anyone would actually notice the 25 dollar addition once the cost went beyond $3,000.
In the email that was sent out to apartment residents students were asked to “please note” that “the University of Tulsa’s student health insurance does cover 90% the emergency transport costs once the deductible has been met.”

Graphic by Elias Brinkman

EMSAcare will no longer be covering ambulance rides for TU students, because the administration has opted out of the program.

Great. That would be fantastic if I used the University’s health insurance and had met my deductible.
As it stands there are students on campus who have insurance plans that would still make an ambulance ride a financial burden because of deductibles, copays or a lack of insurance.

And yes, it is possible to go to the University without any kind of health insurance.

For example, being a registered Native American waives the insurance requirement.

These students who need the program for these reasons are also the most likely to be affected by a hefty EMSA bill.

While it is possible to buy a separate EMSAcare enrollment for $45, most students are not here the entire year, or even the entire academic year and the University opting into EMSAcare.

Rolling the charge in with housing would allow these students to cover the charge with their scholarships in an easy way, thus making it much more likely that they would be able to stay at TU after a medical emergency.

All in all, the University should have done a much better job educating its residents as to what EMSAcare is, what it can do for us and why they are choosing to opt out.

With the University’s 2013 endowment reaching upwards of $893 million, the fact that it is opting out of EMSAcare and trying to brush it under the rug seems like the kind of bullshit I went to a small school to avoid.

Post Author: westanderson

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