Survey Indicates 89% of Colleges and Universities Are Prioritizing Mental Health Coverage for Students

Second Annual Risk Strategies Education Student Health Plan Benchmarking also highlights cost increases

BOSTON, January 30, 2023 -- Risk Strategies, a leading national specialty insurance brokerage and risk management and consulting firm, today released the findings of its Second Annual Student Health Plan Benchmarking Survey, which show colleges and universities are bolstering their mental health and wellness offerings, as well as overall plan enrollment, and costs are trending upward.

The national leader in student health, Risk Strategies Education, Student Health & Wellness group conducted the survey during the summer of 2022. Requests for participation in the survey were sent to over 1,000 colleges and universities across the country. The response rate rose by 58% from the inaugural survey.

While last year’s survey respondents indicated offering telemedicine for behavioral health within the student insurance plan as a priority, this year’s survey listed addressing mental health needs for all students on campus as a top concern among almost 90% of institutions. This result tied mental health as a top concern along with managing student health plan costs.

Additional key findings include:

  • Just under three-quarters (74%) of respondents offer a wellness program, with most of these (81%) available to all students on campus. Of the top four features offered in wellness programs, three were mental health related, reflecting the national focus on behavioral health.
  • The most common per-student annual health plan cost range remained $2,000-$2,999, however this survey showed more schools across all student types with annual costs in the $3,000 - $3,999 range, an indication that costs are rising. Plan cost is trending up for undergraduate students by 4%, almost equal for graduate students, and 5% for international students.
  • Student Health Plan enrollment is trending up, primarily for colleges of all sizes, resulting in an increase in the average enrollment from 22% to 24%.
  • Although colleges and universities made minimal plan changes for 2022, offering voluntary dental and vision plans has become more popular, with dental and vision plans being offered by three-quarters of colleges.

“College and university students have faced unprecedented stressors in recent years,” said Terry Lyons, National Education Practice Leader, Risk Strategies. “It’s reassuring to see these institutions focusing on health plan services that can make a real difference for their student body.”

Respondents to this year’s survey were nearly evenly split between public and private institutions, with 52% coming from public colleges and universities and 48% from private. This result is similar to the 2021 survey, where 53% of respondents were from public and 47% private institutions. Responding schools this year were slightly larger than in 2021, with public schools averaging 15,250 students and private schools averaging 6,330.

Additional information on the survey and key findings, including wellness, co-pays, ancillary products and other key features are here.

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About Risk Strategies

Risk Strategies is the 9th largest privately held US brokerage firm offering comprehensive risk management advice, insurance and reinsurance placement for property & casualty, employee benefits, private client services, as well as consulting services and financial & wealth solutions. With more than 30 specialty practices, Risk Strategies serves commercial companies, nonprofits, public entities, and individuals, and has access to all major insurance markets. Risk Strategies has over 100 offices including Boston, New York City, Chicago, Toronto, Montreal, Grand Cayman, Miami, Atlanta, Dallas, Nashville, Washington DC, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

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