Health plan Hassle

Brock University students who have outside health coverage have until Oct. 1 to opt out of the new health plan, which they were automatically billed an additional $110 for at confirmation of registration last week.
According to health plan administrator, Angie Verde, over 300 students have opted out already, but that number could grow to 3000 by the deadline date. To opt out, students must prove they are already covered under another plan.
“We expect 20 to 40 per cent of students to opt out,” said Garret Rocca, Brock University Students’ Union vice-president finance and administration.
The reason behind this is many students are already covered under their parents’ health plans, so they don’t need the additional coverage. Verde noted that students have the option to combine their two plans enabling them to receive complete or near complete coverage.
Verde acknowledged that a large number of students have been inquiring why the health plan was automatically charged on their registration forms. Last year, students voted 80 per cent in favour of the mandatory health plan in a referendum.
“It was what the students wanted,” said Rocca. “We brought them the option, they said yes.”
Some students feel the opting out process is a bit of a nuisance.
“The first month is always the most hectic,” said Aaron Walmsley, a third-year sports management student who is already covered under his parents’ work health plans. “It’s a bit of a hassle to have to get that information from back home.”
Second year community health science student Meghan Homewood feels the process is “kind of incovenient.”
“If you need it, it’s good, but I’m already covered,” said Homewood.
T.J Miron, a third year co-op accounting student thought the plan would be good for students who go through a lot of prescriptions because “students are poor.
“Although it reminds me of the old Columbia House, where they forced you to buy those CD’s if you didn’t mail the reply back in time,” added Miron.
Rocca acknowledged the opting out process would be a hassle for some, but at the same time, the health plan was put into effect to help the great number of students without health coverage.
“The way the plan works,” said Rocca, “is we have to have a certain number of people signed up to make it worth it for the insurance company.”
Buying a similar plan individually from another insurance company such as Flex Care Liberty Health would cost $535, Rocca said. Students who opt out will be credited $110 on their Brock accounts.
Plans such as Brock’s are not uncommon in other universities across the province or the country. According to Rocca, more than 80 per cent of Canadian universities offer an extended health care plan. That figure jumps to over 90 per cent when looking only at Ontario universities.
“It’s a step in the right direction for Brock,” stated Rocca who also pointed that Lakehead University, St. Mary’s and Dalhousie all buy their insurance plans from Campbell & Co., the same company through which BUSU gets insurance.

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