What do I do for health insurance now that I’ve graduated!?

Don't get lost in the crowd!


Q: I’m graduating but don’t have a job yet.  What do I do for health insurance?

A: Graduating from THE Ohio State University is a major accomplishment.  It’s a time for excitement and celebration – you earned it. 

But once the speeches end and you take off the cap and gown, you’ve got to face the “real world” and that can be kind of a scary place, especially if you don’t have a job.  Perhaps the job you do have doesn’t provide you with health insurance.

So as a graduation present to all of our newly minted Buckeye alums, we’ve compiled a list of resources that can help you find affordable (relatively speaking) health coverage.  We know it ain’t a new car or a Rolex (talk to your parents about that),  but it may be even more valuable to you – one illness or accident without insurance can cost you big bucks in a hurry. 

Congratulations on everything you’ve accomplished.   Now go out there, work hard, stay healthy and take the world by storm!

Go Bucks!

John Vaughn, MD, Roger Miller, MD, Thomas Curran, Patient Accounts Manager  (OSU Student Health Services)

OSU Student Health Insurance Program – Guide for graduating students


COBRA insurance.com an alternative plan that can provide temporary health insurance for 30 days, 6 months and 12 months. The length of coverage might be able to be adjusted to meet the consumer’s needs.

Consumer Benefits.net – Compare 6 plans and receive a free prescription plan. This is an alternative to COBRA insurance. You can compare all 6 plans on their website and receive a free prescription plan when applying through this site.

GradMed.com – This is an official program of the Ohio State University Alumni Association. It is recognized by almost 200 colleges/alumni associations. Comprehensive coverage for alumni and family members under age 65 is available. Great for new grads and other alumni between jobs. The graduate would have a deductible between $500 and $2500. After deductible is met, GradMed will pay 100% of the usual and customary medical expenses up to $1 million. 

The best perk with this option is that there is no co-pay for office visits and no list or network of health care providers to select from. You can go to any licensed doctor or hospital of your choice.  Policy can go into effect the very next day.  Coverage period can range from 30 to 180 days, but you can request an extension of coverage.

Temporary Insurance Quotes.com – This website is similar to shopping for car insurance. You plug in the required information and health insurance companies will respond with quotes for temporary health insurance coverage.

Health Clinics – There might be a free or reduced cost health clinic where you are move. Often, monetary donations are accepted.  Some have income restrictions. Some only serve the local community residents, etc. You can visit http://www.freemedicalcamps.com to access a listing of various clinics. If this does not work; consider contacting the local county Health Department in your new location.


Students – Ride for Team Buckeye in Pelotonia 12!


 Did you know that 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will be diagnosed with cancer?

Help change this startling statistic by riding with us on August 11th in Pelotonia 12! Pelotonia is a grass roots bike tour with one goal: to end cancer. Last year, Pelotonia raised a record $13.1 million for life saving cancer research at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.

  • Every dollar raised by ridersgoes directly to cancer research.
  • Every rider will receive a Team Buckeye jersey.
  • As a Buckeye, the registration fee is reduced and your fund raising minimum can be as low as $650, depending on how far you commit to ride.
  • All funds must be raised by Friday, October 12, 2012.

Please read the Full Student Guidelines carefully, and then visit here to register. 

Thanks and Go Bucks!

John Vaughn, MD (OSU Student Health Services)

Roger Miller, MD (OSU Student Health Services)

Is there anything to do for ADD besides taking medications?


Is there anything that can be done for ADD besides taking medications?  I’m really not a fan of jumping right into medication if I can do other things to help first, especially because of the cost.

Excellent question! 

The key to managing ADD, whether you’re taking medication or not, is developing good time management and organizational skills.  I know – that’s like saying, “just eat right” or “cut down on your stress” – but there are some concrete steps you can take to achieve this goal:

  • Make lists and schedules to keep track of what you need to achieve – and stick to them
  • Keep a large calendar with important deadlines in a central location in your apartment or dorm
  • Keep your desk clutter-free
  • If you’re studying in a library, sit in a carrel-style desk or a room with no windows
  • Pay attention to your “personal clock” and tackle your toughest tasks at your peak performance time
  • Break down large projects into manageable chunks, and assign each one its own deadline
  • Throw your cell phone in Mirror Lake!

OK, I was speaking metaphorically on that last one, but you know what I mean.  You MUST turn off the texts, tweets, tumbls, check-ins, youtubes, IM’s, status updates, skypes and gmails when you’re studying if you hope to get anything done.

Some research has shown that Omega-3 fatty acids and drinking green tea can improve attention and memory.  The CogMed Working Memory Training program has also been shown to be effective in improving attention and memory, but it is pretty expensive. 

Luckly you have some really good – and free! – services right here on campus that can help.

Psychotherapy and coaching can be very useful in managing ADD by helping you to learn behavioral strategies, identify and eliminate avoidant coping strategies, and establish good self-care.  As an enrolled OSU student, you can get free individual psychotherapy services from Counseling & Consultation Service (CCS).

CCS also offers a support group called Living and Succeeding with ADHD that “provides a supportive atmosphere in which students with diagnosed attention and concentration difficulties can ‘pool their resources’ to cooperatively help each other learn and utilize new strategies for setting goals and achieving objectives.”  The group is facilitated by Robert M. Bennett; you can call 614-292-5766 or email Rob at bennett.455@osu.edu to learn more about the group.

The Office of Disability Services (ODS) assists students with academic services and accommodations, and their counselors are available to meet with students on a one-to-one basis for assistance with time management, study strategies, and advocacy skills.  ODS doesn’t provide diagnostic testing for students who suspect that they have a ADD or other learning disabilities, but students can speak to a disability counselor who will make referrals to other resources within and outside of the OSU community. 

If you have any questions about whether or not you may have ADD, you can always make an appointment to see one of our doctors at Student Health.  We can evaluate your symptoms, refer you for appropriate testing and help you manage your symptoms, with medication or without!    

Bong Joo Hwang, Ph.D.
Counseling and Consultation Service
The Ohio State University

John A. Vaughn, MD
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University

You Give Me Fever!

Man, when I heard Madonna sing that song back in the day, I thought she was talking directly to me.  Good times, good times… 

But I digress!  We’re here today to answer the question: “When is a fever really a fever, and how do I know if I have one?”

Let’s start by defining what’s not a fever by reviewing some of the common definitions I hear about 80 times a week:

  • “I don’t have a thermometer but I’ve felt really hot.”
  • “I was sweating last night so I must have had a fever.”
  • “My temperature was 98.2° Fahrenheit but my temperature is normally low so that’s a fever for me.”
  • (And my personal favorite) “My roommate told me I have a fever because she/he is a nursing student.”

According to the National Institute of Health a fever is “an increase in the body’s temperature due to disease or illness.”  Normal body temperature is considered to be 98.6° Fahrenheit or 37° Celsius, but body temperature can vary by 1° throughout the day and elevations can be caused by factors other than illness. 

If you take away anything from this post, it should be that you can’t tell if you have a fever if you don’t have a thermometer (and the old back of the hand to the forehead maneuver doesn’t count).  The best kind to use is an oral thermometer – the one that goes under your tongue.  You can get a tympanic thermometer that you stick in your ear, or a “baby” thermometer that you stick… somewhere else, but they aren’t recommended, or very pleasant, for adults.  Luckily for you, a nice digital oral thermometer can be purchased right here at the Wilce Student Health Center Pharmacy for less than $3.00.  Wow! 

If you’re not feeling sick and just want to get an idea of what your normal temperature range is, it is recommended that you check your temperature in the morning when you first get out of bed and then in the afternoon (around 4:00pm or so) before you eat or drink anything. 

If you are feeling sick and have a fever, when should you call the doctor?  Generally speaking, if you’ve had a temperature greater than 100.4° F for more than 48-72 hours or if it ever goes above 103°F, you should give us a ring.  Of course, it all depends on the other symptoms you are having, so when in doubt come in and let us check you out.  In the meantime, the Mayo Clinic has some more good information for you (see ‘adults’ section).

Jason Williams, RN, OCN
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University

Nothing says “I love you” like peeing in a cup!

Love - Fear

Order-It-Yourself Testing

The Student Health Center

 Stumped as to what to get that special someone in your life this Valentine’s Day?   A box of chocolates is so ‘been there done that’.   Those handmade “coupons” for a free back rub or carrying her books to class were cute last year, but she ain’t falling for that again.  And while checking out Star Wars – Phantom Menace in 3D would be a blast with your buddies, it just doesn’t set that romantic tone you’re looking for.

Well, fret no more my friends.  Student Health Services has the perfect gift for your valentine this year – Order-It-Yourself lab testing!!

What says “I love you” better than a pee-in-the-cup Chlamydia test? 

Feeling tired, honey?  Well why don’t you go to the Student Health Center and get screened for anemia and diabetes?  It’s on me.

The man in your life putting on a few extra pounds?  Well nothing will get him more motivated for Speedo season than a quick peek at his cholesterol levels.

All of these wonderful tests and more are available at the Student Health Center.  And the best part is that you don’t need an appointment or even have to see a health care provider to get them.  Check out our information page for prices and other information.

Just one word of caution.  Nothing lights the flames of passion like a visit to the Student Health Center so be careful that you don’t get burned by those fireworks tonight!

John A. Vaughn, MD (OSU Student Health Services)

How to check on your pee


Order-It-Yourself Testing

The Student Health Center

Q: I am a first year transfer student at OSU, and new to your services. I was wondering if you offer urine screenings?

A: Thanks for your question.  The answer depends on what type of urine screening is desired.  We do three types of urine screening as “OIY (Order-It-Yourself)” tests –

  • drug abuse screens
  • gonorrhea/chlamydia testing
  • pregnancy tests

These are all at your own cost.  For more information on OIY, check out Order-It-Yourself (OIY) Testing at our Student Health web site.  The web site also has a lot of other information, such as our location, hours, and a calendar of events.

If you are interested in some other type of urine screening, you should consider making an appointment with a healthcare provider for an evaluation and discussion of your concerns.  If you see one of our providers, we can order your test right away, and most appointments are available either the same day or within a few days. 

Wish to see a provider outside of Student Health?  Our laboratory can still process most lab orders, if you bring in or the provider sends us a written request. 

Hope this answers your question.  You may also wish to call our Advice/Appointments area (614) 292-4321 and discuss your concerns with our Advice Nurse.

Good Health!

Roger Miller, MD, (OSU Student Health Services) 

What can I do if I think I’ve been given a “date rape” drug?


While thankfully rare, incapacitated sexual assault does occur on college campuses.  Womens Services at Student Health has put together some really useful information about what Ohio State students can do if they feel that they were the victim of a “date rape” drug. 

Please check it out.  And remember to be careful when going out to bars or parties or any other place where you might be given a drink from someone you don’t know.  Keep your friends close by to make sure you all get home safely.  

Beth Askue, MS, CNP
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University

Book your flight, then book your travel visit with us!

The Wilce Student Health Center

Get your vaccination

Gorakhpur, India

Thinking of a trip out of the country during Winter or Spring Break?  Perhaps next summer?  Planning for a Education Abroad experience? Student Health Services offers visits for students traveling outside the United States.

By appointment: Call 614.292.4321 to schedule.  Be prepared with your travel dates and the countries you plan to visit when you call.

What to expect

  • Review of vaccination requirements and recommendations for updating your current immunizations.
  • Travel recommendations based on current health and safety precautions
  • Vaccinations can be initiated at the time of the initial consult/travel assessment


There is a nominal travel visit fee at Student Health Services.  There are also fees for immunizations, lab tests, medications, and post-travel illness screenings. We advise you to check with your health insurance carrier about coverage for these services. 


Protect yourself

Immunization is one of the most important medical precautions a person can take when traveling. The Wilce Student Health Center offers Travel Assessment/Consultation Appointments to guide you through the immunization process and help you understand the importance of protecting yourself.

How we can help

Our Travel Medicine providers use software that is continuously updated to determine immunizations that are needed for specific countries and regions, and provide you with printed instructions for ‘take along’ medications. We are a one-stop clinic. We can administer the immunizations and supply medications that may be required for travel.

Available immunizations

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Influenza (flu)
  • Japanese encephalitis
  • Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR)
  • Meningitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Polio
  • Rabies
  • Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis
  • Typhoid Fever
  • Varicella (chickenpox)
  • Yellow Fever

When should I start my vaccinations

Travelers should call us to schedule an appointment as soon as they know that they will be taking a trip. Some vaccines may require a series of doses and therefore will require prior planning to meet vaccine-dosing schedules. Whenever possible, travelers should be seen a minimum of 6 weeks prior to departure.  

Post-travel medical care

Despite the best planning and preventive measures, accidents and illnesses can occur while traveling. Students with illnesses within a few months of travelling are strongly encouraged to come in for a post-travel medical visit.

What to bring to the appointment:

  • up-to-date vaccination records
  • current medications
  • recommendations from tour organizers
  • your list of questions

Did you get your travel recommendations from another clinic?  We can still give you the vaccines you need, if you bring a written order from your outside provider.

Injections normally start at the time of the Travel Assessment. Additional vaccinations can be scheduled separately as needed.

Health Tips:

  • Food and waterborne diseases are the number one cause of illness in travelers.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
  • Drink only bottled/boiled water, or carbonated drinks in cans or bottles, without ice.
  • Eat only cooked food or fruits and vegetables you have peeled yourself.
  • Boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it.
  • Don’t handle animals.
  • Don’t swim in freshwater, salt water is usually safer.
  • Protect yourself from insects by remaining in screened areas, using insect repellent, and wearing long sleeves and pants.
  • To prevent fungal and parasitic infections, do not go barefoot.
  • Carry a backup supply of your prescription medications with you on your trip.
  • Be sure you are up-to-date on your vision, dental, and medical exams before leaving.

Please visit U.S. Department of State for up-to-date travel advisories and information regarding specific countries.

Don’t forget to send us a postcard!

Roger Miller, MD
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University

Student Health FAQs for New Students

Fall at the Shoe

Fall Colors

We know you’re bombarded with a lot of information in a small amount of time during orientation and it’s hard to retain it all.  So we thought we’d put the highlights here on the blog so that you can read them now that you are settled in.  Feel free to stop in or call if you have any questions.


Our web site gives information on how insurance works at the Student Health Center, but you should learn the basics – in-network vs. out-of-network, how co-pays work, etc. – and be sure to carry your insurance ID card with you at school. Checking out your insurance plan’s website, either for the Student Health Insurance Plan or your own plan is a great idea. too.

If you are not on the Student Health Insurance Plan, you should definitely consider purchasing the WilceCare Supplement.  For only $187 for the entire academic year, it supplements the health insurance that you already have by providing prepaid coverage for medical care delivered at the Student Health Center.  Routine x-rays, laboratory tests, physical therapy, minor office procedures, prescribed medical supplies, office visits for illness and injury and prescriptions are all covered.

Medical Records

We are under strict rules to keep all of your medical information confidential and we take those rules very seriously.  You’ll need to sign an authorization form for us to release your health information to anyone, including your parents.  An authorization form can only be completed for health services that have already been rendered which means that we can’t honor any requests like, “you can just let my Mom have access to my records for as long as I’m at Ohio State.”


There are no immunization requirements for most students entering Ohio State.  However, there are some program-specific requirements (for instance, health professional schools like medicine and nursing may require you to get certain immunizations) so be sure to check with your program coordinator. To learn more about the immunizations offered at Student Health Services, visit our Prevention/Immunizations page, and check out the other pages there and the attached documents.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following immunizations for all college students: Meningococcal Meningitis for students living in the dorm, Hepatitis B, HPV, MMR, Polio, Varicella (Chickenpox), Tetanus-Diphtheria, and Pertussis (Whooping Cough).  Hepatitis A, Influenza, and Pneumococcal vaccines are recommended for students with specific health risk factors.

All of these immunizations are available at the Student Health Center if you aren’t able to get them before you start school, or if you still need to complete a series.  If you can get a copy of your Immunization records, that would be really helpful and keep you from getting immunizations you don’t need.   

Allergy Injections

You can get your allergy shots at the Student Health Center while you’re here for school.  You need to submit the required paperwork prior to scheduling an appointment.  You can bring the allergen vials to the health center yourself or have them mailed to our facility.  We will store them for you and we can release them back to you as needed for injections during times away from the university.


You can transfer a prescription from home to our pharmacy.  All you need is the prescription number and the name/phone number of the original pharmacy – all of which are on the package label.  Our pharmacy is contracted with many insurance companies but not all.  You can stop by or call 614-292-0125 to find out if we can bill your specific insurance.

Web Page

These are just some highlights.  Explore our web page and read some of our other BuckMD blog posts to learn about the huge variety of services offered by your Student Health Services, a division of the Office of Student Life.

Enjoy the beautiful fall colors on campus and welcome to Ohio State!

Welcome to BuckMD!

The Student Health Center

Hello new and returning Buckeyes!  Welcome back to campus for what we hope will be an exciting and rewarding year for you!

BuckMD is going into its 3rd year now and we’ve been busy over the summer getting ready to help you prepare for the challenges of the year ahead!  Wanna know how safe that tattoo you’re thinking about getting is?  Or if antibiotics really interfere with your birth control?  Or even how to prepare for a zombie apocalypse?  Well, look no further, my friends.  

We know everyone goes online for health information nowadays and while there’s plenty of good information out there, it often lacks the proper context.  That’s where we come in.  We’ll put that information in context for you and – most importantly – introduce you to a group of living, breathing health care providers right here on campus that you can actually see if necessary.

We want this blog to be an entertaining, informative and engaging way to talk about health topics that are important to you.  Ask us anything!  If you’re worried about something, odds are other students are too and with so many different types of people on campus, we’re all bound to learn something new.  

So let’s get this party started!  Check out the posts we’ve already done and let us know what you think.  Post a comment.  Subscribe to our RSS feed.  Follow us on Facebook.  Tweet to us on Twitter.  And most of all, send a question to buckmd@studentlife.osu.edu so we can start talking about what matters to you!

Go Bucks!

John A. Vaughn, MD
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University