64 students lose university-sponsored medical coverage


Cristian Orellana

Just weeks into a new semester, mass communication junior Christian Wilburn opened her email Jan. 14 to find, among spam and mass emails, a notification that she no longer had health insurance.

Sixty-three other Loyola students read the same email. They all had received health care from a Loyola partnership with the Student Educational Benefit Trust and now lacked medical coverage, as the trust had filed for bankruptcy, according to the email from the university. Loyola started offering the health insurance plans last semester in hopes of providing college students with accessible medical coverage.

For Wilburn, who is also a member of The Maroon staff, the news was not only sudden, but it left her scrambling to afford her daily medications.

“My prescriptions are well over $300 if I don’t have insurance, and I haven’t been able to get my prescriptions for a month,” Wilburn said.

While students were notified of issues with their insurance on Jan. 14, Loyola was made aware of the trust’s bankruptcy in “late December,” according to Alicia Bourque, director of student affairs. Bourque said that the university then transferred students to another insurance carrier through Loyola’s broker, Gallagher Benefits, soon after.

“We were immediately signed on to another insurance carrier, and then we unexpectedly learned that carrier was not going to meet the needs of our students last Friday,” Bourque said. “Since then, we have worked tirelessly to figure out how to get our students access to acquire insurance.”

Wilburn and other students said they were not notified of the change.

Dylan Ritter, political science junior, said that the university should have notified affected students sooner that their medical coverage was in jeopardy.

“They gave no warnings that they were going under and didn’t give us any time to find alternative insurance,” Ritter said.

The university told the affected students that the loss of their insurance constitutes as a qualifying event that will allow them to enroll in the public exchange, which guarantees a student can obtain insurance regardless of pre-existing conditions effective Feb. 1. Students must enroll by Jan. 31 for their coverage to begin on Feb. 1.

“Our insurance broker Gallagher Benefits has helped us get a new insurance plan as soon as possible,” Bourque said. “They are ready to help students walk through that process.”

Students were urged in the email to contact Gallagher Benefits, who can assist them in getting a new policy. Additionally, The university also said Loyola representatives are available at the University Counseling Center to help.