What is a Health Fee?

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  • Written By: E. Darby
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2018
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A health fee can take on any number of meanings and is usually related to charges imposed in relation to fee-for-service health care services. A copayment might also be known as a health fee. Often, however, "health fee" is used to refer to a "student health fee" which is a charge college students typically pay along with tuition, room and board, and other fees. The student health fee usually covers a variety of basic health care services provided on campus by the school's health care department. Each school differs in what the fee covers.

Typically, student health fees are mandatory for full-time students. For part-time students, the fee may be optional, or it may be prorated based upon the associated number of hours for the student's course load. Rates for both full- and part-time students are typically standardized. International students may be charged a different rate.

The structure of the health fee can vary as well. Sometimes the health fee covers the entire cost of the services and in a way works much like a prepaid health plan. Other times, the student may be responsible to pay additional money when he or she receives a particular service.

Though what is covered by the health fee may vary among institutions, they usually cover basic health care services that are provided at most walk-in clinics. Examples of frequently covered services include physical exams, treatment for minor injuries, pregnancy tests, and basic medications.


The range of non-basic health services available at university health centers varies widely. Sometimes dental, pharmacy, and lab services are provided under the coverage. Larger universities with medical programs can also offer more specialized services like physical therapy, nutrition consultation, and mental health counseling.

The student health fee may come with a cap on benefits, which is usually lower than the limit on an average employee-provided plan in the US. Coverage usually does not extend to services provided outside of the student health center or the campus. Therefore, a visit to the hospital becomes the student’s financial responsibility. For this reason, some colleges also require students to carry an additional form of health insurance.

Commuting may also affect the fees students pay. Those who live off campus may be excused from paying the health fee if they are deemed unlikely to use the services as compared to students who live on campus. The decision, of course, is up to each school.



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