Written by: Katelyn Freil
Some students may have gotten a surprise this semester when they saw the new $15 nominal visit fee in Student Health Services.
The new fee will offset rising health care costs, according to The University of Akron’s “About fees” website.
According to Diane Fashinpaur, the director of Student Health Services, this fee was not something they just started talking about this year.
“There has been some talk over the years, periodically, of instituting a fee,” she said. “The costs have been rising, so this year it’s become more of an issue.”
Fashinpaur defends the fee by comparing it to those set up by other universities.
“What we’ve instituted here is, really, perhaps more fair, because it’s only when a student comes for a visit that the student has to pay the fee — versus a large itemized fee,” Fashinpaur said.
According to the university website, the general service fee for undergraduate students also goes to support Student Health Services. This fee also covers intercollegiate athletics, student organizations, intramurals and other activities.
Fashinpaur said that even students who don’t visit Student Health Services can still see benefits. In cases of an epidemic, or in even more extreme cases like bioterrorism, Student Health Services can provide aid to affected students.
While every student has to pay the general fee, students with insurance may be able to get their $15 back. Fashinpaur said that the office can provide a student with a receipt or certain codes to give to their insurance company.
“They can submit it to their insurance company. We can’t promise that their insurance company would honor that,” she said. “Some students have had luck with that.”
According to Fashinpaur, most students have not mentioned the new fee while at Student Health Services.
“Some students have mentioned some surprise to the fee, particularly students who have been long-time users of the service,” she said. “Other students haven’t blinked an eye.”
Although many students haven’t brought up the fee change, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t upset with it.
Child development major Isabel Moreta said she visited Student Health Services a few times last semester and was shocked when she saw the fee this semester.
“It isn’t fair. It’s inconvenient for students who get sick a lot dealing with stress and other activities,” Moreta said. “You might as well go home.”
Fashinpaur said that a $15 fee per visit is fair compared to similar fees that people with insurance would pay when they go to a doctor back home.
“The visit fee is in range with what many people may pay when they go to the doctor anyway,” Fashinpaur said. “So maybe that’s why probably the majority of the patients who have come through since we instituted the fee have really not considered it a problem.”
Student Health Services is located in Suite 260 in the Student Recreation and Wellness Center. It is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with the last appointment time at 4:15 p.m.