Home Health What to Know About Coronavirus Charges on Your College Bill

What to Know About Coronavirus Charges on Your College Bill

Illustration for article titled What to Know About Coronavirus Charges on Your College Bill

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As college students return to school, some have noticed a new line item on their bill: a coronavirus fee. With new costs for screening, testing, and safety configurations, the New York Times reports some colleges and universities are passing part of the expense along to students.

While schools are hoping that federal funding may cover some of the new pandemic-related costs, there are no guarantees of if or when this may happen. In the meantime, schools are asking students and parents to help them foot the bill.

For example, the University of Michigan is charging students an extra $50 per term, and Merrimack College—a private Massachusetts school—is asking in-person students to pay an extra $475 per semester, which includes weekly testing. Elon University in North Carolina may charge students $129 for a home testing kit, but they are waiting to see how much health insurance companies may cover first.

According to a recent study published in JAMA Network Open, researchers found that schools may need to embrace frequent testing of all students—along with masking and social distancing—to control the spread of the virus this fall.

Whether you’re heading back to school or have a child ready to start classes, you should examine your bills closely for extra coronavirus fees. If you see a line for testing, call your insurance company to see if they will reimburse you. Your provider may need a prescription from your doctor—along with a receipt from the school—for proof the test is “medically necessary.”

If you or your child get sick with coronavirus this semester, your health insurance should cover the cost of treatment, but it never hurts to ask about the specifics before returning to campus. You may need to maintain a certain number of credit hours per semester to qualify for your health insurance plan.

You may also notice a line item for a mandatory “student health fee,” which unfortunately doesn’t cover the cost of health insurance. The good news is you or your child may be eligible for a parents’ health insurance plan until age 26.

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