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Health fee goes a long way for students

The USF Student Health Services Clinic is not just for minor scrapes, cuts or bruises.

Equipped with a certified lab and infirmary, doctors there have diagnosed everything from the common cold to heart disease.

The clinic, which is located between the USF Bookstore and Castor Hall, strives to be the most intensive and affordable source of health care for students.

During the fall and spring, SHS will see approximately 200 to 300 patients per day.

“It’s most important to realize that we’re not just a nurse station,” said Brian Mockler, associate director of SHS. “Our staff has a number of highly trained MDs and a number of specialists, and our services can even take the place of any student’s past health provider.”

Included in the cost of tuition is a $6.84 health fee that pays for a student’s visit to the clinic. The fee also helps to pay for staff salaries and health education.

But the fee doesn’t cover drug or other treatment payments. This is when many students not covered by their parent’s insurance may opt for a Student Health Insurance plan.

To be eligible for this academic year’s premium of $1,150, undergraduates must be taking at least six credit hours. Graduate students can be enrolled in one course, but they must be seeking a degree.

“The plan is basically a sickness and injury policy,” said Marisol Hernandez, coordinator for Student Health Insurance. “It does not cover preventive services.”

Students who have not yet signed up for the insurance plan have until Sept. 18, but Hernandez said exceptions can be made for new students and those students who have been dropped by their insurance.

However, students should not postpone a needed trip to the clinic just because they don’t have insurance, Mockler said.

“No student gets turned away, but sometimes problems arise if the student needs to go somewhere else for something like an x-ray, and we’ll try to help recommend a place with a better price or find a free clinic that they can go to,” Mockler said. “We make sure everybody gets what they need, and sometimes we’ll even pick up the charge if they’re completely destitute.”