A limited number of students are covered for medical care by their parents or guardians. And getting ill at a university campus is often a living ‘hell.’ If a student falls ill, more often than not, they are forced to go back home for medical care, which disrupts their academic progress. Research has shown that a healthy student is more likely to perform at a higher academic level to completion than a student who is constantly disturbed by sickness.
BY DONALD TAFADZWA CHIDOORI
The award winning First Mutual Health low cost student health insurance plans are just what the Doctor ordered.
First Mutual Health’s micro-insurance product – student health insurance plan – scooped the top innovative product in the health insurance category, at the Afri-Sure – Awards 2016.
Since the year 2009 the government stopped financing student health insurance at tertiary institutions. This resulted in universities turning to commercial medical aid societies to cover student health risks. These societies offer a modest basic package of $30/semester.
However, instead of providing a peace of mind these packages have increased the financial burden of the students as they are incurring huge shortfalls on their medical bills.
In addition the cover they enjoy under the medical insurance basic packages has very low global limits and a host of exclusions. ENTER First Mutual Health – Student Plan.
“We have partnered with universities to provide low cost student health insurance plans, that are custom designed to meet the needs of the students,” First Mutual Health, General Manager Stanford Sisya told Risk Insure Zimbabwe.
Mr Sisya said the student health plans, were also a means to provide an innovative solution to the health care challenges that university students in the country are currently facing.
The Student health insurance plans are cheaper than traditional health insurance programs, have no shortfalls (Yes they are no shortfalls), no co-payments and to put cherry on top of the cake there are no waiting periods (This is just what the students needed).
“There are two types of Student Health plans, the General Plan and the Private Plan. The General Plan is the cheapest of the two with premiums costing as low as $4 per month and the Private Plan costs $13 per month,” said Mr Sisya.
“This premium is so low considering that the plan has a very high annual benefit limit of $4, 000,” he added.
Under the general plan premiums are paid six (6) months in advance at the beginning of each semester.
Mr Sisya said that under this plan students could be treated at University clinics -(Universities have clinics within close proximity to the University to provide adequate health care to their students) – without paying any out of pocket expenses.
On top of that, during the Semester, students are able to access the following services from any Government/Mission/Municipal hospital:
- Out-patient consultation
- Dental benefit
- Optical cover
- Drug facility with a wide range of pharmacies countrywide
Students can also access health services even during semester breaks, however services are limited to Government/Municipal/Mission hospitals.
Health services in Zimbabwe are very expensive and even with a medical health scheme you will not totally avoid making out of pocket payments in the form of co-payments. However, with the Student Health Plans students will have a peace of mind knowing that they would not need to pay any co-payments for services rendered. FML Health has strategic partnerships with the Medical Service Providers who are well represented across Zimbabwe, as such members of the FML Medical Savings Fund will NOT pay co-payments.
NO Waiting Periods
There are no waiting periods to access services.
If you could ask anyone the first thing they think about when they hear the words ‘Health Insurance’ the majority would tell you shortfalls. There is nothing more depressing to be treated of an ailment and having to stress about a huge medical bill as a result of shortfalls.
Through Shortfall Insurance Benefit (SIB) and Insurance Benefits (IB), the FML Medical Savings Fund eliminates altogether medical shortfalls. The contribution made by member for their selected plan is the only financial outlay. There is no recovery of shortfall amounts from either the member or the University as would be the case where only a medical savings account exists without back-up insurance. The insurance premium is 100% of the member’s contribution.
Through effective and efficient strategic partnerships, the FML Medical Savings Fund allows for emergency evacuation to better equipped Medical Service Providers in Zimbabwe .
The student health plans have one particular exclusion, “Pregnancy benefits are not covered”.
The annual period of coverage under the student health plan is the University’s academic year, which means coverage ends at the end of the academic year.
Here is a look of the Benefit limits of the two student health plans:
|Student Health Private Plan||Student Health General Plan|
|Annual Limit per Person||$7,000||$4,000|
|Shortfall Cover||$ 700||$400|
|Dental Cover||$ 320||$240|
|Refraction Fees (Association Tariff)||In full||In full|
|Optical (10 months waiting period thereafter per every Two Years)||$150||$100|
Treatment (Internal 18 months, External 6 months waiting period)
|Homes providing Nursing Services
|Ancillary Services** (according to Tariff)||In full||In full|
|Private Ambulance Services (According to Tariff)||In full||In full|
|Homes for the Disabled
“Remember illness is never planned, no one wishes to be sick, however whenever we fall sick we do not know the magnitude of that illness, get medical cover,” implored Mr Sisya,
You can visit the FML Health website for more information