Updated Fri, Apr 26, 2013 1:08 pm
The father of two Ohio University students is suing the university, claiming that his sons were wrongfully billed for student health insurance and legal services totaling $1,498. However, OU claims his sons simply missed the deadlines to opt out of the programs.
According to a complaint filed with the Court of Claims of Ohio last week, Jeff Squires of Plain City, Ohio, claims that his sons Nick and Nate were wrongfully billed for services they did not want including student health insurance, the WellBeing program and student legal services.
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Squires claims the charges are not legal because his sons did not sign or orally agree to a contract for the products or services. He wrote that the university’s policy is that the services are to be “purchased” by students/parents unless the students opt-out of the programs.
He also claims that his family did opt out as they had provided proof of health insurance prior to receiving an opt-out email notification.
In addition to the $1,498 in services, Squires is also asking that the university reimburse him $700 in legal fees.
In a letter from OU’s General Counsel John Biancamano to Squires’ lawyer, he wrote that in email exchanges last year, Squires “conceded that he and his sons did not pay attention to many notices and opportunities that (OU) presented to them to learn about the insurance program and its requirements.”
Biancamano wrote, “We believe that the manner in which we offer health insurance coverage to our students is appropriate and we are not in a position to make the refund you requested.”
According to Ohio University’s Bursar’s website, the student health insurance, WellBeing program and student legal service are “optional fees,” but require an opt-out. The website states that every Athens campus student is automatically enrolled in the three programs.
The website describes the WellBeing fee as being created in 2008 as an “optional enhancement to student health care.”
“It works with your medical insurance to reduce the costs of health services as well as expanding student health care options on campus,” the website states.
In order to opt-out of the insurance program, students must fill out a waiver form once each academic year on their “My OHIO Student Center” website. Students can also opt-out of the WellBeing program and student legal service on the My OHIO Student Center once each term.
Used with permission from the Athens Messenger