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Healthcare for All: The Importance of Accessible Healthcare for Undergraduate Students

As many undergraduate students take on their academics and work towards their career goals, they must remain physically and mentally healthy. However, extreme healthcare costs and complicated insurance policies are leaving undergraduate students stranded when they require care.

Healthcare is a basic human right and should be easily accessible to everyone, especially college students, who might not be financially stable enough to cover out-of-pocket medical costs. The issues within the healthcare system that limits accessibility to undergraduates and the necessary steps that need to take for healthcare to provide to college students without any limitations.

For decades, the healthcare system in the United States has been complicated to navigate for the individuals who depend on it. While other places across the globe, such as Canada and many European countries, have accessible and free healthcare, American hospitals charge high prices for necessary procedures, pharmaceuticals, wellness check-ups, and medical services, causing those seeking care to face significant debt.

To alleviate these high medical service prices, people often rely on a health insurance plan, which can help cover a portion of medical costs for an upfront payment. However, these insurance plans can be expensive or unattainable due to specific requirements for application, which can leave many individuals needing help with health emergencies or medical services.

Health insurance often has significant limitations within constantly changing policies, which can jeopardize the efficiency of medical care for many insurance users when going to the doctor, visiting an emergency room or urgent care, or even refilling a prescription at a pharmacy. Health insurance policies vary based on the insurance company's standards and their relations with hospitals, doctors’ offices, counseling services, pharmacies, and pharmaceutical companies. Therefore, this does not guarantee covered medical care at all establishments. In the case that the insurance plan of the individual can not be accepted at a particular medical institution, the patient is expected to pay for the expensive cost of medical services out of pocket, which can cause them to face significant amounts of medical debt depending on the treatment needed.

As students begin their college careers, they face challenges and responsibilities, especially if this is the first time they live independently. A significant challenge a new undergraduate might face is ensuring adequate health coverage in an emergency or if they need medical care. For those with health insurance, this includes double-checking the policies to see what hospitals and pharmacies would be able to accept their insurance and allow them to afford medical care. If an individual cannot attain a health insurance plan, they face the struggle of finding an affordable yet effective plan on their own, or they face potential medical debt due to high hospital prices.

These high prices and insurance discrepancies can cause undergraduate students to avoid going to the doctor’s office and prevent them from seeking medical attention throughout the school year. This constant fear of not being covered by insurance or being unable to pay medical bills is extremely dangerous, especially if someone has a medical condition that requires ongoing treatment or encounters a potentially life-threatening injury or illness. Therefore, aiming for accessible healthcare is necessary for the health and well - being of all people, especially undergraduate students. By restructuring the current healthcare system to prioritize patients over profits, people will develop a sense of security that they will get the necessary medical care without worrying about financial or insurance coverage issues.

With the high costs of medical services and confusing insurance policy regulations, it is important to be prepared for any health-related emergencies throughout college. You can do this by reviewing your current insurance plan if you have one and find out which hospitals and pharmacies close to your school accept your insurance. Also, take advantage of healthcare resources at your school. Some universities have medical centers as well as health insurance plans which can be helpful if you do not currently have health insurance or if you are looking for a different plan. You should also prepare an emergency plan in the case you experience a medical emergency while you are at school. You can do so by researching the closest emergency rooms, mental health services, pharmacies, and any other medical services in the area that you may need. By planning ahead and being aware of any possible financial and logistical obstacles you may come across, you will be able to be better prepared for when you need medical care throughout your undergraduate career.


Hernandez, A. (2009, September 16). College students are Health Care’s Invisible Minority. Diverse.

How U.S. Health Insurance Works. Vaden Health Services. (n.d.).

Preparing for Illness and Medical Emergencies in College. StudentCaffe. (2019).

Robert H. Shmerling, M. (2021, July 13). Is Our Healthcare System Broken?. Harvard Health.

What are Medical Expense Accounts?. Optum. (2022).

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