Editorial: Healthy Choice

International students wishing to enroll at City College for the Fall Semester will be required to purchase a health insurance plan through the school.

We applaud the reasoning and intent of the policy, and support this attempt to bring City College in line with other institutions.

Foreign students, unprepared to navigate the health care minefield, suffer from the capricious convolutions of health care more than residents. With this coverage, they will not be subject to the effects of this aberration peculiar to the United States, the lone developed nation without mandatory health coverage.

A simple visit to the doctor’s office can strain already fragile student budgets, and even a minor emergency brings devastating financial consequences. Students should not expect Health Services to address anything beyond the most routine of care. The Accident and Sickness Health Insurance Plan mitigates our national shortcoming, and bestows invaluable peace of mind for about $1.50 a day.

To enable coverage at such attractive rates, the insurer, Student Insurance Agency, requires all international students to participate and buy into the policy as a group. Therefore, existing individual health coverage will have to be terminated, and all students will receive the same benefits and coverage. This small loss of flexibility must be balanced against the advantageous premiums and the quality of coverage.

Health insurance is not free, neither is medical treatment or hospital care. The additional expense constitutes another demand on the student pocketbook, but the $566 annual premium would be recovered during the first minutes of a visit to an emergency room. The policy covers routine doctor visits and hospitalization, and is not limited to catastrophic events. It is a sound investment.

The laudable effort elevates the debate in a country where automobile insurance is mandatory, but health coverage is a right denied to over 41 million people. By aggressively working to manage the risks associated with a medical crisis for its students, the International Student Support Program initiative remedies a wrong.

It also tosses the ball to the City College administrators who should respond with equal conviction in securing similar coverage for the rest of the student body.

All students without regard to their national origins must be able to concentrate on their studies, free from the specter of health care costs. This courageous first step will plant the seed of a complete overhaul of our failed system. Imagine that.