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Cougar Health Services medical care

Student insurance coverage improves

While prices rise all around us, there is good news for graduate assistants and international students: student insurance rates for next year are decreasing while providing more coverage.

The 2017-2018 insurance plan premium will be $1677 per year, a $183 decrease from last academic year. International students pay their own premiums and will therefore benefit from a direct reduction in their out-of-pocket expense. Graduate assistants’ premiums are paid by their department.

In addition to lower rates, both graduate assistants and international students will receive additional benefits in the 2017-2018 plan. We’ve increased reimbursement for brand name prescription drugs from the current 60 percent to 70 percent. We now cover vision exams in full at our clinic and up to $65 at other vision clinics.

Additionally, international students will now be able to purchase a Delta Dental insurance plan. Graduate assistants receive dental coverage as part of their standard plan.

We’ll post more information about the 2017-2018 plan and benefits on our website in July. Automatic enrollment for qualifying students occurs in the second week of August.

Do you have any questions about your insurance benefit? Please feel free to contact us for more information.

Providers trained on care for LGBTQ patients

We’re dedicated to providing the best possible medical care for WSU students of all genders and sexual orientations. After meeting with students from the Gender Identity/Expression and Sexual Orientation Resource Center last fall and hearing their concerns, we’ve vigorously pursued new training and resources to better serve lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) students.

The students we spoke with identified unmet needs, including training for our staff on common issues and concerns for members of the LGBTQ community. In particular, transgender students in attendance talked about their struggle to receive gender-affirming hormone treatment locally and the importance of being able to access treatment on campus.

Since then, our primary care, counseling, and pharmacy staff have taken steps to improve our care for LGBTQ patients. Earlier this month, two of our health care providers attended a symposium on providing more effective, culturally sensitive care to LGBTQ patients.

For providers, the symposium including taking an inclusive LGBTQ health history, guidelines for primary care treatment for LGBTQ patients, and information regarding gender affirming hormone treatment. For all staff, the symposium reviewed the need for gender affirming care as well as cultural competency.

We plan to begin offering hormone treatment for transgender students in fall 2017. We will continue engaging with LGBTQ students and working together to address their needs going forward.

Providers trained to identify suicide risk

Providers trained to identify suicide risk

Healthcare providers play a critical role in identifying and evaluating suicide risk. The Washington State Department of Health requires certain providers to complete suicide prevention training.

Oftentimes, providers have varying levels of experience with suicide prevention. Training providers in the same suicide prevention best practices ensures all our providers are on the same-page when it comes to suicide prevention.

This month, 35 of our healthcare providers completed the Suicide and Crisis Intervention training offered by the Crisis Clinic, a Seattle-based organization offering emotional support to individuals in crisis or considering suicide.

Our providers work closely with students and are often in a position to detect suicide risk. During training, our providers learned how to asses and treat students and at-risk populations, such a veterans, for suicide. They were also trained how to evaluate an individual’s risk of immediate self-harm. The training our providers took is included on the Washington State Department of Health Model List of suicide prevention trainings.

Last fall, providers from Counseling and Psychological Services, completed the Assessing and Managing Suicide Risk (AMSR) training provided by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center.

AMSR is designed specifically for healthcare providers. It unpacks the five most common dilemmas providers face when working with someone who may be at risk for suicide, and presents best practices for addressing them.

Activities like suicide prevention training are part of a broader effort to prevent suicide of WSU students. Our Campus Mental Health Collaborative group is working to ensure the WSU community to up-to-date on best practices for supporting students’ mental health.

If you’d like to receive updates on the Campus Mental Health Collaborative, as well as other information about news and events related to mental and emotional health at WSU, make sure you subscribe to our mailing list.

Insurance basics for Cougs

Insurance basics for Cougs

About 66 percent of Cougs are still on their parents’ health insurance plan! Whether you use your parents’ insurance or have your own plan, our healthcare system is complex and learning to navigate it on your own can be tough. Here are some insurance basics to keep in mind next time you make a medical appointment.

Check to see if your healthcare provider is in-network

Insurance companies have contract agreements with certain healthcare providers, who are considered in-network. Insurance plans generally provide more coverage for services performed by in-network providers, which lowers the amount you have to pay out of pocket.

You can usually find a list of in-network providers in your area on your insurance company’s website. Or, you can check your healthcare provider’s website or call them to get details on what your insurance will cover.

For Health & Wellness Services, check our list of contracted insurance companies or contact our billing office for details. If you have WSU insurance as an international student or graduate assistant, you can find more info on our student insurance website.

Find out if you need a referral

If you need to see a specialist or get a specific medical service, you may need a referral. If you’re visiting a healthcare provider other than your primary doctor’s office, check with your insurance company to find out whether or not you need a referral.

If you need a referral and don’t get one in advance, you may have trouble getting your insurance company to cover the service. If you need to see a specialist for any reason, our medical clinic can help you with referrals to local providers.

Know your annual premium, deductible and copay

An annual premium is the amount you or your parents pay to have your health insurance plan. In any given year, you have to pay a set amount of medical expenses out of pocket before your insurance company will pay for any services. This is called a deductible.

At each medical appointment, you may also have a copay or co-insurance. After you’ve met your deductible for the year, all you have to pay is your copay (a set amount of money) or co-insurance (a set percentage of total cost) and your insurance company will cover the rest of your bill.

If you aren’t sure how much your visit will cost, your healthcare provider’s billing office can help you figure out your coverage and how much you’ll owe.

Check your Explanation of Benefits (EOB)

After your insurance company pays for a medical service you’ve received, they’ll send you a document called an EOB. Your EOB will tell you what the claim was for, whether it was approved and for how much.

Depending on your insurance company and the preferences you’ve set, you may receive your EOB in the mail or electronically. When it arrives, make sure the information is correct and contact your insurance company if you have questions.

Explore your options

If you don’t have health insurance, low-cost insurance options are available through the Washington State Health Benefit Exchange. Open enrollment for 2017 plans is happening now!

If you need help navigating your insurance options or have any concerns about how to pay for medical care, you are always welcome to contact our billing office.

Flu Shot Fridays are here!

Flu Shot Friday coming soon

Flu season is approaching and it’s time to mark Flu Shot Fridays on your calendar! After you get vaccinated, it takes about two weeks for your body to develop the antibodies that will protect you from flu virus. That’s why the CDC recommends you get your vaccine as early in the flu season as possible.

When and where are Flu Shot Fridays?

Every Friday from September 23 to October 28
10 am to 3pm
Washington building, ground floor entrance

Who can get a flu shot?

WSU students, faculty and staff as well as local community members can get their flu shots at Flu Shot Fridays. We won’t be able to give the vaccine to those who are pregnant or under age 18.

How much does the flu shot cost?

Flu shots are covered in full by most insurance plans. If you don’t have insurance or are concerned about costs, we’re here to help you! Contact our billing office at 509-335-3575.

Make sure to bring your insurance card! We won’t be taking payment at the time of service for Flu Shot Fridays, but we’ll take down your insurance information for billing.

Is parking available?

We’ll have some parking spaces reserved in the green lot at Stadium Way and SE Nevada St for Flu Shot Fridays. Reserved spaces will be marked with orange cones. Metered parking spots are available on NE Washington St.

There are also a number of other zoned parking lots available nearby for permit holders. For a detailed parking map, visit Transportation Services. Our building is also easily accessible via public transit. Visit Pullman Transit for routes and schedules.

What type of shot will be given?

There are two types of flu shot: intradermal and intramuscular. Intradermal shots are given by injecting a small amount of concentrated flu vaccine in the top layers of the skin. The needle used for intradermal shots is smaller than a traditional shot, which makes this type a great choice if you have a fear of needles.

Intramuscular shots are given by injecting vaccine into the muscle. At Flu Shot Fridays, we typically give intradermal injections, but you can ask for an intramuscular injection if you’d prefer one.

Can I get a shot outside Flu Shot Friday hours?

Yes! Students can make an appointment online or by phone at our clinic to receive a flu shot at their convenience.

Get your meningitis B vaccination!

Meningitis is a rare but serious illness, with a high risk for young adults – especially those under 25 who live in close quarters with others, like residence halls or Greek housing.

By college, most students have received a standard 4-strain meningitis vaccine. For full protection, we strongly recommend you also get a meningitis type B vaccine.

For meningitis B, we currently offer BEXSERO, a two-dose vaccine. You’ll need to wait at least a month after getting the first dose to come in for your second, but you can get the second dose any time after that. BEXSERO is approved for use in individuals 10 through 25 years of age.

You can see a full list of the immunizations we offer on our services page or give us a call for details at 509-335-3575.

Flu vaccine available at clinic

Flu season is approaching fast! Are you ready to get your flu shot? Good news: we now have flu vaccine in stock at our medical clinic.

This fall, we’ll be holding Flu Shot Fridays every week from September 23 to October 28. Stay tuned for more details coming soon!

Students who want get their flu shots ASAP can make an appointment at the clinic online or by phone at 509-335-3575.