Mature Students Drive Up Healthcare Costs

WINDSOR, Ontario, Sept. 18 (UPI) — An increase in the average age of students at a Canadian college is driving up the cost of their health insurance premiums, officials said.

An increase in the number of mature students attending St. Clair College in Windsor, Ontario, has raised the average age of a college student from 23 to 25 in just five years.

With the increase has come a dramatic rise in health insurance premiums, as student fees for health coverage have more than doubled to $130 for the 2010-11 school year from $60 the year before.

College administrators say they had no choice but to raise fees to cover the high premiums from insurance companies.

Many of the mature students are laid-off workers retraining for new professions, and many of them have already started families.

“With our program, we have the ability to opt in dependents,” Justin Fox of the college’s Student Representative Council said.

“And with mature students having a lot of families, it kind of drastically enhanced our program.”

Some students say they are grateful for the benefits plan, whatever the cost.

Injury forced Jeremy Roberts, a father of two, back to school after 13 years as a welder.

“I was worried about where I was going to get the money to pay for those benefits … dental plan with children? It’s crazy,” said Roberts.

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