The Facts about Seeking Healthcare
Preparing to take on your own healthcare in college can be overwhelming, but there’s a few simple things you can do to make the transition smoother.
- If you have a primary care provider, see them before coming to campus. Bonus step: make the appointment and fill out the paperwork yourself to practice.Talk to them about getting a referral for providers closer to college.
- Find a local health care provider like the Campus Health Center or GVSU Family Health Center for when you need healthcare while at GVSU.
- Have a plan for any regular prescriptions you take. Have enough refills for the first semester. Know where to get them refilled if you need.
- Create a first aid kit for your room or apartment. It's ok to have a cheat sheet of what medications should be taken for what ailments.
- Be sure that you understand if you have insurance and what’s covered before care. Have a copy of your insurance card on hand.
- Make a list of local resources that may be helpful. (Like the University Counseling Center, local health care provider, closest urgent and/or convenient care, etc)
- Know your own medical history, including immunizations and your family medical history.
- Stay in touch with your parents and/or guardians - there's a learning curve for all of you! Know your emergency contact information, including phone numbers, and contact information of any primary care providers, including names, phone, fax and addresses.
- Take steps towards being well in all dimensions of wellness.
- And, don’t forget to take preventative steps to stay healthy like getting your flu shot and washing your hands.
Common Health Insurance Terms
Premium: a payment made each month to your insurance provider for coverage
Deductible: the amount you have to pay out of pocket for care until your insurance company starts to cover your medical costs (ex: if you have a $500 deductible for hospital visits, you must pay $500 before your insurance provider covers anything)
Copayment or copay: a fixed amount you pay for receiving health services covered by insurance, typically when services are received (ex: everytime you visit urgent care you must pay $20 at the office after your appointment).
Cost sharing: the portion of costs you pay for services covered by your insurance. This can include deductibles and copays.
HMO: Health Maintenance Organization. A type of health insurance plan that allows you to see health providers within a network agreed upon by the insurance provider. Care is only covered by your insurance plan if you see a professional within this network.
PPO: Preferred Provider Organization. An insurance plan that features an agreed upon network of health providers but has less restrictions about seeing providers out of network. Out-of-network health providers are covered by your insurance plan but your insurance may not pay for as much of the cost compared to those that are in-network.
Tips for Using Your Insurance
- Have your insurance card ready when making phone appointments. The receptionist will often ask for your insurance information.
- Make sure your insurance is accepted when making appointments. Providers will often ask for your insurance information when scheduling and tell you if they accept it. But if they do not, checking beforehand could help you avoid uncovered medical charges.
- Healthcare providers (ex: Spectrum, Mercy Health, Metro Health, etc.) often list which insurance providers they accept on their website. Additionally, many insurance providers such as Blue Cross Blue Shield, Priority Health, and UnitedHealthcare have tools on their websites that help you to find providers that accept your plan.