This blog written by Mumtahina Tabassum, FCS senior intern, class of ’22
Low health insurance literacy rates are a prevalent issue among undergraduate university students. As an undergraduate student myself, it was not until I began my internship with University of Maryland Extension (UME) that I realized I did not have enough knowledge of how health insurance works. I had heard some basic health insurance terms such as “deductible” or “co-pay” here and there but I did not know about the different types of health insurance or how to choose a plan that works for me.
After conversing with a few of my peers about this subject, I learned that many were also in the dark about health insurance knowledge and planning. Furthermore, many of my peers are and have been living without any health insurance. Health insurance is not always seen as a necessity by many students, although it is required by the University of Maryland. Many purchase the health insurance offered by the school, though students may find that another insurance plan would work better for them. After graduation, it is likely that most former students will have to choose a health insurance plan for themselves but, in order to make these types of choices, individuals will need to learn how to navigate through this information.
In the past few months, I have been learning about the basics of health insurance and how to make choices that work for me through the Smart Choice, Smart Use program offered by University of Maryland Extension. The Smart Choice, Smart Use program series offers multiple workshops to small groups in order to spread information on health insurance and how individuals can navigate complex but essential material.
These types of programs are important for undergraduate students to participate in, to help us prepare for the choices we will have to make after graduating. The workshops were offered via Zoom, which made it extremely accessible and easy to attend between or after my classes. Students would have the opportunity to ask questions and talk through items to reach a better understanding of the choices that they can make today.
If you’re an undergraduate student in any institution wanting to learn more about health insurance and your options, I recommend keeping up with UME’s resources and future workshops. These resources can be found on the website linked here.