Health and Dental Plan town hall planned for November

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The UVSS board of directors is looking for suggestions regarding the state of student health care.

The board is hosting an open house on Nov. 9 in the Michele Pujol Room from 4–6 p.m. An email authored by UVSS Director of Finance and Operations Mackenzie Cumberland was sent to each undergraduate student, informing the student body of the event.

The town hall will likely focus on the upcoming referendum, currently planned for the spring of 2018, that Cumberland wrote “includes substantial changes to the Health and Dental Plan.”

“Although the UVSS administers the Health & Dental Plan on your behalf, it is ultimately up to you — the over 18,000 undergrads at UVic — to determine what type of coverage you would like to see going forward. We plan to give you the opportunity to vote on this issue next spring,” Cumberland wrote.

“If you would like to become involved in this discussion, please come to our upcoming open house where students can provide input on the Health and Dental Plan.”

The state of the Health and Dental Plan has been under fire recently after the high-profile case of Lilia Zaharieva, a UVic student whose life-altering Cystic Fibrosis medication was no longer covered when the UVSS switched its health care providers.

A summation of what is covered under the current UVSS Health and Dental Plan. Graphic by Cormac O’Brien, Editor-in-Chief

The decision to change the coverage was made during the 2016-2017 UVSS board’s final board meeting of their term.

“It’s important to note that the 2016-2017 Board’s decision to adopt these changes were necessary in order for the UVSS to continue to be able to offer Health and Dental coverage at all,” Cumberland wrote in the email. “Last year, the costs of the plan rose dramatically and this year we have to seriously deplete our Health Plan Reserve Fund just to be able to offer the current degree of coverage.”

Former UVSS Director of Finance and Operations Kevin Tupper made similar comments back when the change was announced in April 2017.

“From just September to February, the average claims per person jumped by 24 per cent in 2016–17 compared to 2015–16. A typical student Health and Dental Plan’s inflation trend is only five to eight per cent,” Tupper wrote in an email following the board meeting at which the decision to switch plans was made.

The change in plan meant that students paid the same amount for UVSS-provided health care but had less coverage for certain medications.

Files by Myles Sauer

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