Understanding Health Insurance Part 1: Vocabulary

Navigating the healthcare system in the United States is challenging to say the least. Part of this is due to the confusing health insurance system in our country. What is a deductible? How much is my co-pay? What does out-of-pocket maximum mean? To make sure you are making the correct choice when selecting a health insurance plan, it is crucial to learn how health insurance works and what to look for when purchasing coverage.

This is part 1 of a 3-part blog post. Read below to learn more about key terminology you will want to know when selecting your health insurance policy.

Words to know and look for:

  • Insurance Policy – a contract between an individual and an insurance company detailing everything that is covered by a health insurance plan, including the terms and conditions. Most insurance policies operate on a yearly contract.
  • Policy Holder – the individual(s) covered by the health insurance policy.
  • Dependent – a person who is eligible for coverage under a policyholder’s health insurance plan. A dependent may be a spouse, domestic partner, or child.
  • Premium – the amount you pay per month or per year to the insurance company for healthcare coverage.
  • Deductible – the amount you pay out-of-pocket during a policy year for some benefits before coverage starts. Once you hit a specific dollar amount out of pocket in that year, your insurance will start to pay its share.
  • Co-pay – the amount you pay at the time of service. Example: paying $30 every time you visit your doctor or paying $50 each time you see a specialist for care. The actual dollar amount differs per plan but most often this cost is standardized by the plan you select.
  • Out-of-Pocket Maximum – the maximum amount of money you pay in deductibles and co-pays in a year before the insurance company starts paying for all covered expenses.
  • In-Network – healthcare services and providers that are covered under your insurance plan. In-network providers are often the cheapest option for you as the policyholder.
  • Out-of-Network – healthcare services and providers not covered by your insurance plan. Using services outside of your network often result in higher costs to you as the policyholder.
  • Pre-Existing Condition – any chronic disease, disability, or other condition you have at the time of application. Any treatments related to pre-existing conditions often result in higher premiums.
  • Waiting Period – when accepting a new job that offers insurance to employees, often (but not always) employer-sponsored insurance plans require the new employee to wait a certain amount of time before qualifying to enroll in their health insurance plan. This waiting period varies but usually lasts 90 days.
  • Enrollment Period/Open Enrollment – this is the time window when you can apply for health insurance or modify your existing policy.
  • Qualifying Life Event – outside of the enrollment period, a policyholder can modify their plan if they experience a qualifying life event. This includes – marriage, divorce, birth of a child, changes to individual/household income, or relocating out of state.

Health insurance provides you with peace of mind when taking care of your health. By signing up for the appropriate health insurance plan, you are making sure that you will not be stuck with paying for expensive medical costs out of pocket.

Individuals can obtain health coverage through two options: individual coverage or group coverage. Individual coverage is purchasing coverage directly from the insurance company. While group coverage is often provided through eligible employment or student status when an organization negotiates with the insurance company for coverage for a large amount of individuals.

Ohio State students are required to hold some kind of health insurance. If you are an international student, you are required to sign up for insurance through the Student Health Insurance policy. If you are a domestic student enrolled in a degree program and enrolled in at least six (6) credit hours for undergraduates, at least four (4) credit hours for graduate and professional students and at least three (3) credit hours for post-candidacy doctoral students, you are automatically enrolled in this insurance plan. Domestic students have the option to withdraw from the Student Health Insurance plan if they have coverage elsewhere. For more information on Student Health Insurance visit the Student Health Insurance website and read their FAQs page for answers to common questions.


Health Insurance Literacy: Student Health Insurance (osu.edu)

Understanding Health Insurance (medicalbillingandcoding.org)

-Jordan Helcbergier, Wellness Coordinator

Understanding Health Insurance Part 3: How to Select the Best Plan

Welcome to the final post in our 3-part, “Understanding Health Insurance” blog series. We have covered vocabulary and acronyms in parts 1 and 2, and now we are going to tell you how to select the best plan for you!

Finding a good health plan is about balance. How much you are paying per month compared to how much healthcare you think you and your family will need throughout the year. Before selecting a plan, some self-reflection may help.

While it can be hard to know what healthcare expenses to anticipate throughout the year, and therefore what plan to select, you can get a general idea of costs based on previous years. Do you go to the doctor regularly? Do you have a pre-existing condition? Do you anticipate expanding your family this year? All good questions to ask yourself when picking a plan. Answers to these questions, and others, can help you decide between plans that have lower monthly premiums and higher out of pocket costs or higher monthly premiums and lower out of pocket costs. Again, it is all about trying to find the right balance and saving you the most money.

When choosing a health insurance plan start by reading through the summary of benefits. Whether you are signing up for insurance through an employer, the government, or through school, a summary of benefits should be available for you to compare your options. The summary of benefits will explain the costs associated with each plan and what it covers.

Some items to look for when comparing options:

  • Monthly Premiums – How much is this going to cost you per month?
    • Higher premiums might be better if:
      • You see a primary physician or specialist frequently.
      • You frequently need emergency care.
      • You take expensive or brand-name medications on a regular basis.
      • You have a planned surgery coming up.
      • You have been diagnosed with a chronic condition such as diabetes.
    • Lower premiums might be a better option if:
      • You can’t afford the higher monthly premiums.
      • You’re in good health and rarely see a doctor outside of your yearly visit.
    • Out-of-Pocket Costs – Compare costs such as copays, deductibles, prescription coverage etc. to get a better idea of what healthcare is going to cost you in addition to the monthly premium.
    • Type of Insurance Plan – Refer back to our acronyms cheat sheet. What do your options look like?
    • Provider Network – Do you already have an established network of preferred doctors? If so, check to see if your new plan covers these practitioners. If not, you may need to look at a different plan or start looking for new in-network practitioners.
    • Benefits – What all is included in the plan? Some options may have better coverage and might include things like physical therapy, fertility treatments or mental health care, emergency coverage, etc. What services do you anticipate needing? This might help to narrow down which plan is right for you.

There are lots of things to consider when signing up for a health insurance plan, including health status, dependent status, and budget. What type of coverage you need is going to change throughout your life. Do your research so that you are prepared ahead of enrollment periods to make the best selection for what you need in the moment.

Ohio State students are required to hold some kind of health insurance. If you are an international student, you are required to sign up for insurance through the Student Health Insurance policy. If you are a domestic student enrolled in a degree program and enrolled in at least six (6) credit hours for undergraduates, at least four (4) credit hours for graduate and professional students and at least three (3) credit hours for post-candidacy doctoral students are automatically enrolled in this insurance plan. Domestic students have the option to withdraw from the Student Health Insurance plan if they have coverage elsewhere. For more information on Student Health Insurance visit the Student Health Insurance website and read their FAQs page for answers to common questions.


Health Insurance Literacy: Student Health Insurance (osu.edu)

Understanding Health Insurance (medicalbillingandcoding.org)

How to Choose Health Insurance: Your Step-by-Step Guide – NerdWallet

-Jordan Helcbergier, Wellness Coordinator

Spiritual or Religious? What is the Difference?

Spirituality and religion are often used interchangeably to describe someone’s faith or existential views; however, these two words hold very different meanings. They share similar qualities and can certainly be talked about together, but they still consist of different concepts.

Religion is defined as “the belief in and worship of a superhuman power or powers, especially a God or gods, and as a particular system of faith and worship”. Religion tends to follow more specific or outlines rules, rituals, or traditions that members follow. Members of the same religion typically identify as a community. While people within the same religion can have differing beliefs, they are related by common factors that the particular religion has to offer.

Spirituality is more difficult to define and is more abstract as far as practice and implementation. The dictionary definition of spirituality is “the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things”. Other definitions and interpretations include “the personal quest for meaning in life” and “anything involved in feeding the soul of the practicing person”.

Anyone can be spiritual, religious, or both, and the method of practice for either is always a personal preference. If you are interested in becoming spiritual, religious, or both, you do not have to follow any set rules to be a part of either and are allowed to practice in a way that works best for you. Some ways to learn and get more involved include:

  • Talking to people you trust about their thoughts and experiences and what they do for spiritual wellness
  • Doing research: reading books, watching movies or documentaries, exploring websites or group meetings for spirituality or certain religions
  • Figure out what spirituality and religion mean to Self-reflect and think about your values and what you want to gain from spirituality or religion
  • Having mantras or positive affirmations that help make you feel good
  • Try and be more aware of the things and people around you, acknowledging the life that we are all apart of and sharing

Key Takeaways

Religion: organized, typically community/group based, specific practices, common belief in a higher power

Spirituality: less structured/organized, typically individual based, more abstract concept, variety of practices and ways of engagement, centered around peace/the mind, body, and soul, existentialism view

However you choose to be, spiritual or religious, it should feel comfortable and uplifting for you. What feeds your spirituality may not work for someone else, and vice versa. Remember to be kind to yourself and remind yourself that finding spirituality or religion is often a lifelong process, and the only “right” way to do it. We all have unique perspectives of the world and have the freedom to interpret it whatever way works best!

-Alison Reynolds, Graduate Student Assistant



https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/spirituality-without-religion https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4957758/#:~:text=Spirituality%20and%2


How to Prepare for an Interview

From CEOs to interns, everyone must go through an interview process: it can be a lengthy and exhausting process! As I round out my time in graduate school and enter my professional career, I’ve come to realize that there is a lot of information out there about what interviewers are typically looking for, but not how to implement those things into a conversation. Below are a few tips you can take before you enter (and succeed at) your next interview!

Remember: as a general rule of thumb, take the time to learn as much as you can about the company, the job, and the interview process. Your interview preparation will depend on many factors: this can include your career goals, the company you will be working for, and even who will be interviewing you. These are some overarching ideas on how to prepare, however, your needs may be different!

Here are some tips to prepare you for your interview:

  • Get as much information as you can about the job To establish why you’d make a great addition to the team, you must first understand what your interviewer is seeking. In most job postings, organizations specify exactly what they are looking for in applicants, so go back to the description you looked at before you apply.
  • Being the “ideal” Pay attention to what skills and experiences the employer emphasizes, or what problems the job candidate will be required to solve. When you conduct your interview, be sure to highlight these things, as well as your capacity to take on these tasks, to make yourself stand out from other applicants. By proving that you’ve done your homework, you can improve your chances of being considered an “ideal” candidate.
  • Research pay Regardless of whether you are ready to have the money conversation, you may still be asked about your salary or hourly wage expectations. You can prevent giving, or agreeing to, a way-too-low number by doing some financial research beforehand.
  • Have questions During most interviews, the interviewer will ask, “Do you have any questions for me?” and the answer should always be yes! In addition to these interview questions, you should prepare some questions that are specific to the job and company. Preparation is key—do not ask questions that have already been addressed or do not leave yourself without backup options if your first two questions were already addressed.
  • Follow up with a thank you Send a thank-you note or an email after an interview to reiterate your interest. In this thank-you letter, you can reiterate why you want the job, what your qualifications are, and how you could make a significant contribution. As well as thanking your interviewer, this thank- you letter provides the perfect opportunity to discuss any important points you failed to cover in your interview.

Finally, here are some example questions:

  • Why do you enjoy working here? This question is a great way to gauge how current employees view their workplace: some may choose to talk about flexible schedules, how the team is supportive or even the free lunches on However, their responses can be a great way to gain personal insight about the role.
  • What is an initiative that isn’t currently in the works at [the company] and what internal or external resources are needed to carry it out? How could the selected candidate help make it a reality? In my own interview experience, this has been a great way to see how a company currently views prospective projects or changes, as well as what goals they have for the future.

-Sara Hoover, Graduate Student Assistant





Let’s Chat: Body Neutrality

The term, “body neutrality” has proven to become a bit of a buzzword over the last few years. However, what exactly does it mean? And how is it different from “body positivity?”

To put it simply, “body neutrality” relates to how one practices respect towards their body, without aiming to change it. Body neutrality differs from body positivity in that it doesn’t always require you to love your body, but rather to accept it.

So, body neutrality focuses more on the body’s abilities and non-physical characteristics than its physical appearance: if you practice body neutrality, you may tell yourself, “My body enables me to participate in activities I enjoy,” or “because of my amazing body, I can enjoy the foods I love.” Further, instead of focusing on how your body looks, body neutrality is about appreciating what it can do.

Similarly, the term, “body positivity” refers to the belief that all people deserve to have a positive body image regardless of how society views ideal body types, sizes, and appearances. Additionally, body positivity aims to explain how popular media messages affect the way people feel about food, exercise, clothing, health, identity, and self-care, and how these messages contribute to their relationship with their bodies. It is hoped that, by better understanding the impact of such influences, people will be able to develop a more realistic and healthy relationship with themselves.

Would you like to practice body neutrality in your own wellness journey?

Here are some things you can implement to start exploring body neutrality:

Wear clothes that make you feel comfortable. As much as we try to squeeze into clothes that are too tight, it can lead to feelings of body shame; rather than tinkering with your outfit all day long, select whatever you feel most comfortable in – and if that means a t-shirt and some leggings, then that is totally okay!

Rationalize any spiraling thoughts. Before you spiral, thinking that your thighs are too large, and your arms are too flabby, ask yourself: “Are these thoughts helping me right now? Would it be beneficial to continue engaging with them?”

In these moments, you can make a choice; do you buy in and follow these thoughts, or do you pause and think of something neutral? For example, if your brain is screaming, “I look terrible,” try countering it with: “I am having a thought that I look terrible.” Through this, you may be able to realize that you, as a person, are not defined by these negative thoughts.

Cut off unwanted conversations. There’s no escaping the fact that you’ll be drawn into a diet- or body-related conversation – and it’s best to either redirect or not participate. In response to someone encouraging you to exercise to lose weight, you could explain that you exercise for the feelings it gives you, not so you will make you look a certain way.

Take your time. The goal of body neutrality isn’t a destination or an achievement; it’s a work in progress that we constantly strive for. It’s never too late to begin unlearning some of the things we’ve been taught for so many years – remember, be gentle with yourself!






-Sara Hoover, Graduate Assistant

A New Take on the New Year

As the pressure builds to create new habits this time of year, it can be overwhelming to make goals that align with what you truly desire. Diet culture, social media, and even friends and family can push us in the direction of weight loss and dieting. This can encourage quick fixes and fad diets that – let’s be honest – don’t work. Making realistic goals using Intuitive Eating can help you form a healthy relationship with food, your mind, and your body.What is Intuitive Eating?

Intuitive Eating is an approach to health and eating that focuses on listening to your body’s needs and making choices to honor what it is telling you. It teaches you to understand physical cues like hunger and satisfaction and grants you freedom to let your body be your guide. The 10 principles of Intuitive Eating include:

  1. Reject the Diet Mentality
  2. Honor Your Hunger
  3. Make Peace with Food
  4. Challenge the Food Police
  5. Discover the Satisfaction Factor
  6. Feel Your Fullness
  7. Cope with Your Emotions with Kindness
  8. Respect Your Body
  9. Movement – Feel the Difference
  10. Honor Your Health – Gentle Nutrition

5 Non-Diet New Year’s Resolutions Using Intuitive Eating

  1. Find Joyful Movement Instead of Strict Exercise – Focus less on the hours spent at the gym and experiment with movements that you feed good and enjoy doing. Try a yoga class or join a local kickball team with a friend.
  2. Clean Your Social Media Feed – Unfollow or mute accounts that trigger comparison feelings or make you feel bad about yourself. Follow people who empower and inspire you and encourage your same values.
  3. Buy Clothes That Fit – The thought of buying bigger clothes can be scary but wearing clothes that are too tight or uncomfortable can make body image worse. Donate clothes that don’t fit your here-and-now body and stop overanalyzing sizes. Remember, the clothes are supposed to fit you, not the other way around.
  4. Develop Other Coping Mechanisms – Emotions are normal and part of what makes us human. Food and exercise are common outlets people turn to cope with emotions, but they can be taken to extremes. Create a list of alternative activities you can do when you feel triggered by an emotion, like calling a friend, going for a walk, or painting.
  5. Shift the Language – Stop labeling food as ‘bad’ or ‘good.’ Morality has no place in food, and this practice will just increase feelings of shame and guilt. The next time you notice yourself labeling food as ‘unhealthy’ or ‘guilt-free,’ try reframing your thoughts using neutral terms like colorful, satisfying, or fueling.

Adopting Intuitive Eating can give you a sense of peace and freedom. Food is meant to be eaten; our bodies are meant to be fueled. Reframing the way you approach your health and wellness goals can positively impact your likelihood of making long term changes.

To learn more about Intuitive Eating, schedule a free nutrition coaching appointment or participate in the Intuitive Eating Workshop Series.

-Janele Bayless, Wellness Coordinator


What Are the 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating (And How They Can Help You)

10 Principles of Intuitive Eating


March Editorial from Counseling and Consultation Services

Destigmatizing Mental Health Through Tragic Events 

Local, regional, national, and global critical incidents are too common. While seeking to understand these tragedies there is a psychological impact. Traumatic events leave individuals with varied emotional experiences. These can range from shock and disbelief to other painful emotions such as anger and sorrow. You may also notice that your daily routine may be affected as you notice changes in sleeping, appetite and concentration. Additionally, exposure to such events either in person or in media may effect your perceptions about the world. Reactions vary, and so do student needs. There are resources that can be accessed to support individuals and groups. We’ve got your back at Ohio State. 

Coping In A Crisis : Counseling and Consultation Service (osu.edu)  

Promoting CCS Services   

CCS can help you sort through options and identify a counselor that matches your needs and preferences. For personalized assistance linking with a therapist, you can schedule a phone screening with CCS at Schedule a Phone Screening : Counseling and Consultation Service (osu.edu) or use our self-guided directory at Community Provider Database : Counseling and Consultation Service (osu.edu) 

Resource Sharing  

Spring Break can be a great time to relax, travel, and visit with friends. For many students, it’s also time to party, and it can be easy to overindulge.  Find 10 tips from student wellness to Party Smart!  


Dating, hanging out or hooking up over spring break? Student Wellness Center is also a great resource for taking care of your sexual health! https://swc.osu.edu/wellness-education-and-resources/sexual-health 

Humanizing CCS   

SWT? LSW? LISW-S? What do all those letters behind a therapist ‘s name mean? There are many training programs for therapy providers, and the letters signify which type of training a therapist has and which license they hold in their field.  “SW” stands for social worker and signifies training through a lens of social justice and advocacy. In honor of Social Work Month, we shine a spotlight on CCS social workers!  

You can learn more about our staff social workers’ personal and professional interests at Our Staff : Counseling and Consultation Service (osu.edu) 

Social Work Staff Highlight  

Collin Pfaff, B.S., SWT  (Social Work Intern)  

Professional Interests: 

  • Mind-Body-Spirit Integration: Strengths-Based Approach Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Logotherapy, Narrative Therapy, Poetry, Yoga, Loving-Kindness Meditation (Metta Meditation) 
  • Community Building and Social Justice: Family Systems, Humane Technology, Equitable Work Environments, Leadership Development, Ethical Consumerism 

Personal Interests: 

One of my closest friends once told me, “Always wear clothes that you can dance in.” I try living my life that way, where each moment is an opportunity to be joyful. It doesn’t always look like much (you still have to go to work and do the dishes) and there’s plenty of silence. It is a great adventure. 

Identity Specific Posts

Did you know March is Women’s History Month? Honoring our history allows us to be catalysts and advocates of social change. Find ways to celebrate, reflect, and work towards equity with The Center for Belonging and Social Change.  


March 8th is International Women’s Day!  Since 1911, IWD has highlighted and addressed gender inequity and has served as a tool to advocate for gender equity. This year’s theme is #EmbraceEquity and this year’s mission’s include Women in Tech, Women at Work, and Women’s Health.  

Learn more and get involved with 2023 International Women’s Day Mission’s here:  



-Claire Simon, LISW-S, Embedded Clinical Therapist, College of Nursing