Aidan LeBlond

UMR Student Experiences with U.S. Health Insurance & Policy: A Qualitative Pilot Study

The passing of the ACA pushed colleges to require all full-time students to have health insurance. Having college-sponsored health insurance aims to help students financially by calculating these costs into their financial aid package.This pilot study looks at the impacts that UMR health insurance policy has on students and how these experiences have impacted their time as students at UMR. The research team gained knowledge of students’ experiences with health insurance and policy at UMR by conducting semi-structured photovoice interviews. Each group member completed one interview allowing the pilot study to have four interviews from which to collect data. These interviews were then transcribed verbatim by their respective interviewers. From the data collected the group was able to determine three major themes: emotions surrounding access to care; gaps in health insurance education for students, patients and workers; and affordability and complexity of billing/payment.The study concluded that there were large gaps in our participants’ understanding of health insurance policy and billing in general as well as at UMR specifically. By not being properly educated, students are concerned about seeking care due to the unknown costs and may delay seeking care due to the potential cost.