FAQ  |  Why Student Health Insurance?

Why does Fuller require students to have health insurance?

  There are many students at Fuller who have no other access to health insurance.  They are not covered by health insurance plans provided by their parents, their work, their church, or any other source.  This group includes many international students, who comprise about 15% of Fuller's student body.  Some of these individuals would have a difficult time purchasing a private individual health insurance policy.  Consequently, the seminary has decided, on the theological basis of Christian community, that it should make health insurance available to students.  In order for Fuller to be able to offer insurance at a reasonable rate, the insurance carriers require that all students either purchase insurance or demonstrate comparable coverage.  (In the insurance business this is called the principle of adverse selection, which is that if insurance is not mandatory, only people with health problems will tend to buy insurance, thus significantly increasing the insurance company's risk.)


Do Fuller students really need insurance?

  There are many students in the Fuller community who require significant health care each year.  For many of these students, their health issues are unforeseen.  Issues can include cancer, an unexpected pregnancy, a difficult delivery during childbirth, or a simple slip or fall.


Does Fuller make a lot of money from providing health insurance?

  Fuller does not make one dollar from providing health insurance.  We do charge a small fee to help recover the cost of administering the plans, but make nothing from the insurance itself.


Can I buy insurance somewhere else?

  Yes, you can, provided that it is comparable to the Fuller plan.  This is due to the principle of adverse selection, described above.  Fuller has established a baseline for insurance coverage, based on years of experience with the medical challenges experienced by Fuller students.  If you can find a plan that is cheaper, with similar benefits, you are free to purchase it and complete a student insurance waiver form.


What goes in to determining the cost of the insurance plans?

  Health care has experienced the fastest growth in cost of any consumer good.  Each year Fuller sits down with an independent student health insurance consultant, who looks at our needs and then goes out into the insurance market and gets estimates from various insurance companies.  A Fuller committee then sits down, looks at the proposals, and selects the one that seems to offer the best benefits for the most reasonable price.  Based on student input, Fuller offers a very basic plan to help keep costs low.  In addition, we offer one other plan with more coverage and benefits.  Please note: you cannot change plans during the year.  If you start outwith the basic plan, you cannot upgrade to the other plan until next the next school year (Fall quarter).  


What if I don't use any benefits? What if I don't get sick or injured?  Do I get my money back?

  No, you do not.  These are insurance plans, which operate like car insurance plans.  If you don't have an accident, you don't get your car insurance payment back.  These are not prepaid medical expense plans.


Is Fuller trying to get a better deal?

  Absolutely.  Each year we tweak our plans and try to get the lowest possible rates for our students while still offering adequate coverage.  It is not a perfect process, and there are always individuals who aren't totally pleased with the plan.  However, we do respond to student input and have made some significant changes based on student feedback.