Health and Dental plebiscite

Needing glasses, and on the Health and Dental plan? Right now, you have to pay for it yourself, but that might change after the Students’ Union General Election.

As part of the election, the SU is holding a plebiscite about the Health and Dental plan to gauge students’ opinions about the current plan. Unlike a referendum, the plebiscite’s results are not binding.

SU Vice-president Operations and Finance Amanda Affonso explains that a survey conducted by the Op-Fi Commission from November to February indicated there were three major concerns.

"They’re asking for students’ opinions to see if the Students’ Union should investigate incorporating an eyewear/optical option to our current health and dental program," said Affonso. "The other question is should part-time students be eligible for the health and dental program. The third one is to see if we should investigate an unmanaged dental plan, which would mean a cost to students."

The SU will set up information tables next week and provide a handbill.

"As well, there are posters all around campus that have the referendum and plebiscite question as well as background information," added Affonso. "There will be an SLC View coming out this week."

The first plebiscite question that appears on the ballot concerns the addition of part-time students. According to Affonso, the main reason for the exclusion is that many part-time students have full-time jobs and are usually covered by their employers’ health and dental program.

"If we had to go towards it, [it] might mean a premium increase because we are putting more students on the program," explained Affonso. "More students would probably use the program, therefore increasing the costs."

The second part of the plebiscite deals with adding coverage for eye exams and purchasing pres-cription eyewear. Alberta Health Care and other insurance companies do not provide coverage. The last part entails investigating an unmanaged, fee-for-service dental plan allowing students to see any dentist. The current dental plan excludes the possibility to see other dentists.

"I think that’s one of the downfalls of the program when you come to university," said Affonso. "You have to switch your dentist because they’re not on the plan."

Second-year Social Science student Lena Dumont echoed those concerns but saw other problems with allowing part-time students into the Health and Dental plan.

"As long as it’s not affecting the full-time students," said Dumont. "If there’s going to be an increase, it should be in the [part-time students’ area]. I don’t know if the [full-time] students can afford the higher increase in premiums."

For more information contact Affonso at suvpfin@ucalgary.ca or 220-3907.

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