By Вen Li
A year ago, students voted to expand health and dental coverage. A year later, the Students’ Union has done nothing.
"It’s pretty clear to me that people don’t want [the changes] right now because of increased cost," said SU Vice-president Operations and Finance Matt Lauzon. "The increase in cost would be substantial, so that’s not going to happen right away."
Last year, students voted 86.6 per cent in favor of allowing part-time students to participate in the SU health and dental plan, but only 10.8 per cent were in favour of the change if it meant increased costs. The response to adding eye exams and eyewear and an unmanaged dental plan were similar.
"The increase if we added eye exams and prescription eyewear to the health plan is somewhere around 50 per cent," said Lauzon. "It would be huge, absolutely huge. We just can’t do it. Students don’t want us to."
While VP Op-fi elect Natasha Dhillon thinks the current health plan is excellent, she thinks the dental plan can be improved.
"I’d prefer an unmanaged dental plan to allow students to go see their own dentists, but for the sake keeping the price down, we have a managed plan."
She is, however, concerned about the dental plan. According to Dhillon, a disadvantage of the current managed dental plan is that students can only choose from eight dentists in the city, assigned over the phone.
"One of the things that came up when talking to people was with our dentists," she said. "Specifically, they don’t know what the dentists’ qualifications are."
"We came up with an idea of having a list of all of our dentists with a bio about each one," she said. "The problem with that is there will be a lot of demand for a specific
Dhillon wants to better inform students about the health and dental plan next year.
"We’re going to have to do as much as we can to communicate to them where the office is going, and that if they can opt out of the program they should."
The Health and Dental Plan office will be relocating to MSC 371 on Thurs., March 22 to be closer to Health Services.
"Health Services upstairs get a lot of traffic because students think they deal with benefits," said Students Services staff member for the SU Health and Dental Plan Binny Abraham.
Students Services Coordinator for the SU Health and Dental Plan Jason Hong refused comment on the plebiscite results.
Lauzon, who investigated health plans at other universities, said the current plan with Clarica, negotiated through Gallivan and Associates, is operating very efficiently.