Medicaid offers numerous benefits to students

A sign in the lobby of Mercy Regional Health Center specifies that they will treat anyone in an emergency and that they do accept Medicaid. Of the options available to students, Lafene Health Center currently does not accept Medicaid. (Regan Tokos | The Collegian)

K-State does not accept Medicaid from students. According to Jim Parker, director of Lafene Health Center, some students lack the ability to cover the funds of a medical accident or an emergency, and Medicaid could be a beneficial option for them to consider.

Young adults on campus said they do not usually worry about things such as health insurance because they have can be covered by their parents’ insurance until they are 26 years old.

Medicaid, or KanCare, the new name for Kansas Medicaid and HealthWave, is a jointly funded, federal-state health insurance program for those with low income and few resources. It is offered through three different companies, the Amerigroup, Sunflower Health Plan and UnitedHealthcare. Each of these companies offer their own specialized services.

According to program’s website, KanCare covers multiple types of services, including doctor’s office visits, hospital services, vaccines and checkups, blood work and lab services, prenatal care and many more; all of these services have been provided by the KanCare health plan since Jan. 1, 2013. The premium paid is determined by multiple factors, such as income, schooling, etc., but this varies, from person to person.

“Health insurance shouldn’t be a privilege,” Kendra Wright, sophomore in apparel and textiles, said. “It’s a basic human right.”

Lafene Health Center provides many services for K-State students at a reduced rate. Some of the students interviewed said they also enjoy utilizing the center because it’s so student-based. Lafene accepts many types of insurance plans, but not Medicaid. Parker said this has a lot to do with Medicaid contracting.

“The topic of Medicaid contracting is very complicated, as it is heavy with federal requirements and may affect our ability to treat students exclusively,” Parker said.

Additionally, new training and all new technology would be required for Lafene to be able to accept Medicaid, which Parker said is easier said than done. If the center decided to support Medicaid, it would no longer be just student based. This is an aspect Lafene employees said they do not want to lose since students help pay for the center, Parker said.

“I’m sure many people assume the only people that need Medicaid are those who are unemployed or stains on society, but honestly a lot of people couldn’t live without the benefits of Medicaid,” Wright said.

Even though some students have the ability to get off of their parents’ insurance before the age of 26, some prefer to stay on it until they graduate.

“I would rather stay on my parents’ insurance because it’s more convenient and it’s not something I have to worry about until I graduate from college,” Sarah Krehbiel, junior in agricultural communications and journalism, said.

For students who need to provide their own insurance, Medicaid is an option.

“Medicaid offers completely necessary services that would be a huge plus for everyone,” Josh Imhoff, Manhattan resident, said.