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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Student Health to reduce out-of-pocket expenses for students, offer new services

Steve Clark YMCA and Student Wellness Center. (File Photo) (Garima Thapa)

Wichita State University students will now pay a reduced rate for general medicine provider office visits at Student Health Services (SHS). While office visits, on paper, will appear to increase in price from $30 or $35 to $50, SHS Director Heather Stafford said “no WSU student will pay more than $25 for an office visit.”

Previously, basic office visits, not including medications, labs, or radiology services, cost $30 for return visits or $35 for new visits. Now, the rate will increase to $50, but Stafford said that by taking advantage of insurance benefits, reimbursements from insurance, and student fees, student health can “reduce that cost down to $25 for students who either have high co-pays or deductibles or are uninsured.”

“Paid student fees are contributing to the reduction of the office visit charge after insurance is billed or for uninsured students,” Stafford said. “There’s different ways and pockets of where you can use the most insurance reimbursement that you can so that it’s coming from the insurance company and not from the students.”

According to Stafford, the cost cut was motivated by a recommendation from the Kansas Board of Regents to take advantage of insurance benefits and the clinic’s commitment to reducing out-of-pocket expenses.

“They (KBOR) wanted us to charge more … to get those insurance benefits. And while yes, we understand the benefit of that, we still have quite a few students who are uninsured or underinsured,” Stafford said. “What we decided to do was to get the most benefit out of insurance benefits for our students who have insurance versus making sure that we keep our costs as low as possible. I think we’re in a situation that’s going to benefit both.”

In her 18 years at SHS, Stafford said office prices have only increased once — from $10 to $30 for office visits in 2018-2019.

Since then, the clinic has continued to explore new ways to reduce costs for students. Stafford said in the 2022-2023 academic year, they reduced the amount of patient responsibility, or how much a patient has to pay, by 12% through insurance reimbursement. Stafford said this new alteration to office visit costs ensures that students have affordable access to health care.

“(We want students) to know that this is a service that’s accessible to them, for whatever their healthcare needs might be,” Stafford said.

New services

Additionally, the health center will offer an array of new services, many of which are already available or will be available by the start of the fall semester.

Health assessment data from 2022 showed a large volume of students wanted chiropractic services available on campus. Now, in time for the upcoming school year, the SHS has recruited Arika Brown of Brown Chiropractic to provide chiropractic services to treat a range of conditions and ailments.

“It’s not just for aches and pains, but also for preventative health and mental health as well,” Stafford said.

Physical therapy services will also make its debut after a series of “soft rollouts.” Therapists from the physical therapy program will provide non-surgical physical therapy services for acute or chronic injury management this upcoming semester.

In addition to these new services, the SHS now offers free over-the-counter contraception. Julie, a progestin-only emergency contraception, will be available for free from Student Health Services during office hours. Narcan is also available for free over the counter.

Student Health Services will also continue providing lesser-known services, such as gene testing, gender-affirming hormones and a variety of depression and anxiety medications. A complete list of available services, as well as altered office visit pricing, can be found on the SHS website or through the myShockerHealth portal.

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About the Contributors
Allison Campbell
Allison Campbell, Editor-in-Chief
Allison Campbell is the editor in chief of The Sunflower. Campbell is a senior pursuing a journalism and media production degree with a minor in English. She served as one of the news editors during the 2023-2024 year. Campbell hopes to pursue a career in writing or editing after graduation. They use any pronouns.
Selena Favela
Selena Favela, Former photographer
Selena Favela is a former photo editor for The Sunflower. She majored in graphic design. She is from Wichita, Kansas.

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