Starting next fall, students at all 16 UNC schools, including UNCW, will be required to have health insurance. The plan has been in the works for years, but the UNC system's Board of Governors only recently approved the mandate. Students have a few options. They can either come to school with insurance from an employer or their parents. They can buy coverage through the school system, or have a combination of both. School officials hope to offer a plan that costs about $700 a year. Right now, UNCW has a voluntary health insurance plan, which roughly 130 students sign up for each year. The director of UNCW's Student Health Center said 10 to 15 percent of students there do not have health insurance at all. She wants to see each and every one covered, which this requirement will ensure. "Too often you see somebody who doesn't have health insurance, run into a situation where they have to make a choice whether to remain in school or leave in order to get the medical care they need," said Katrin Wesner of UNCW Student Health Services. Uninsured student Courtney Kim said, "iIt's just really not worth it, I would say. I know that if anything major were to happen it would be pretty serious, but the premiums we would have to pay each month, if, say, I didn't go to the hospital for two years, that amount of money would go towards nothing." Kim said her parents choose to pay out of pocket for her health expenses, and so far, that plan has worked out for them. UNC officials said they will be able to offer a better plan at a cheaper cost with this requirement, because they will have the buying power of all 16 schools in the system.
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