Medical benefit office fines students $75 for missing RSVP deadline

Written by: 
Antoniette Yee

An RSVP deadline was introduced by the Registrar’s Office in Spring 2016 for students who fail to enroll in 12 credit hours and register for health insurance, according to Student Insurance Supervisor Beth Martin. Not responding by the deadline results in a $75 fine, which was introduced by the Student Medical Benefits Office in Winter 2016.


Martin, who works in the SMB Office, explained the purpose of the deadline and fine is to find out how many students will be attending the upcoming semester. “Processing to get pharmacy coverage and medical coverage takes a while, so we need to send out a file to DMBA (Deseret Mutual Benefit Administrators) a few weeks before the following semester starts to make sure students who are full time have the SMB and continuing students have continued coverage right after the current semester ends,” she explained in an email.


If they are unable to RSVP on time, students may have their qualification for medical and pharmacy benefits delayed, she added.


In a face-to-face interview, Martin explained, “We need to know who these students are before the next semester comes in so they can be enrolled for the Student Medical Benefits right after the previous semester’s SMB terminates. This will eliminate problems when they need to see the Health Center, when they need to be sent to a specialist, or pick up prescriptions from the pharmacy.”


To avoid the RSVP charge, she said students should plan ahead, register before the deadline, and take care of financial obligations with the school so there are no holds on their account. “There are students who can’t register even if they want to because of their financial holds. But students should save up and get their bills paid on time.”


In addition to health insurance, Daryl Whitford, the university registrar, said, “The goal of RSVP is to know the attendance of students for the following semester. The fee is for students to make up their minds faster. Nobody wants to be charged $75, and the solution for that is for students to register ahead of time.”


All full-time students with at least 12 credit hours (including one face-to-face class) are automatically qualified for SMB, said Martin.


Domestic students who are still covered under their parents’ private medical insurance plan have the option to waive the SMB, according to Martin. She said, “They don’t have to rush if they are still covered by their parents’ plan, but they cannot waive it in the middle of a semester. There is a deadline for that too. If that’s the case, they can waive it after that semester to be fair with all the other students.”


Those interested in pursuing this option must go to the SMB Office, sign a waiver form, and submit a copy of their private medical insurance plan before the first week of the semester.


International students are required to be enrolled in at least 12 credit hours to qualify for the SMB, she added. “They are also required to add all their dependents to their SMB. If they are not going to be in school the following semester, they need to come to our office to know what other options they have in order to have continuous medical benefit.”


Nephi Campos, a junior studying business management from the Philippines, said he believes the charge should be lowered to $50 to be more reasonable. “Students won’t be able to register for 12 credits if they haven’t paid their family contribution. So how will the students pay a $75 charge if they can’t even pay their family contribution?”


Whitford’s advice for students is: “The earlier you register, there will be more chances for you to get good classes and you don’t have to worry until school starts. Also, you don’t have to run around like a chicken to have the add/drop form signed.”


She added students shouldn’t procrastinate and should take note of the deadline. “It’s not that hard to look at your map and see classes you need to register for. Don’t procrastinate and register for classes. You still have time, hurry up.”


For seniors who want to take a reduced load - where six credit hours count as full-time enrollment - their last semester, Martin said they must go notify the Registrar’s Office so they can still be covered by the student health insurance plan.


Martin mentioned the deadline for Winter Semester was Nov. 1, but her office gave students a “grace period until Nov. 8 to complete anything.”


Martin emphasized that students shouldn’t wait until last minute to do these things and should find out ahead of time from academic advisors if they have prerequisites for certain classes. She said, “It pays to be on top of things, and following the deadlines will help the students be on track.”


The SMB Office is located in Aloha Center Room 102.

Date Published: 
Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Last Edited: 
Tuesday, November 28, 2017