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Students successfully lobby school to re-instate STD test coverage

School was considering billing insurers for test

Over 5,000 students at the University of Michigan successfully lobbied the school to re-instate its coverage for the testing of sexually transmitted diseases. The activists had claimed that the school’s decision to discontinue such coverage would hurt the university’s “most vulnerable and marginalized students.”

The school had considered “potentially billing insurance carriers” for the exams, “making students responsible for any costs not covered by insurance,” MLive reports. In recent years, according to the news service, the health center “incurred approximately $600,000 in annual expenses for the cost of all lab tests sent for processing, increasing to $681,000 during the 2019 fiscal year.”

But the school’s intentions to shift the cost of STD testing drew quick backlash from a significant portion of the student body:

The decision to cover sexually transmitted infection testing came after Students for Equitable Health Care at UM created a petition urging the university to reconsider. The petition collected nearly 5,200 signatures in just a couple of days.

“This decision will disproportionately affect low income students, who will also have the hardest time getting access to medical care when their preventable STIs develop into much more serious (and costly) medical conditions,” the petition states. “This does not “save” costs, it dramatically increases them — those costs are simply transferred to our most vulnerable and marginalized students.”

Conceding to the petitioners’ demands, the executive director of the health center told them that the university “would never want the payment process for these important medical tests to stand in the way of any student accessing important medical services or testing.”

Read the report here. (h/t InsideHigherEd)

MORE: University installs condom dispensers amid STD spike

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