The ins and outs of your new UVSS health plan

Everything you need to know about the tiers, coverage, and how to opt out entirely

Pricing for full-time UVic students.

Ratified in last spring’s referendum and finalized at a summer board meeting, students returning to campus this month will now have access to a two-tiered health and dental plan along with the option to opt out entirely before the Sept. 22 deadline.

“The Health and Dental Plan that the UVSS offers to UVic students has been restructured to have a two-tiered plan, automatically enrolling students in an Enhanced Plan as well as the ability to ‘opt-down’ into a Basic Plan which provides fewer benefits but at a lower cost,” UVSS Director of Finance and Operations Curtis Whittla said in the spring when the plan was completed.

Last March, the students’ society posed two referenda questions asking students if they would approve of a five per cent fee hike and the restructuring of fees to create two differently-priced plans. After a three-day voting period, both questions passed comfortably with a respective 86%  and 59% of voters responding yes.

All students are automatically enrolled in the newly minted Enhanced Plan, but they have the option to downgrade to the less comprehensive and less expensive Basic Plan if they require less medical and dental coverage.

For students who started class in September, the Enhanced Plan is priced at $360 for 12 months of coverage, while students starting class in January will be charged $240 for eight months.

The UVSS also allows for students to downgrade to the Basic Plan, a lower coverage alternative at a cheaper cost — $290 for 12 months or $193.34 for eight.

Whittla says the reasoning behind the $70 difference between the plans is to give students a lower-cost option who still want coverage under the UVSS health plan. “Having tiered plans was the best way to offer a lower-cost option for those students for whom price is the biggest issue, while also allowing students that rely on our Health and Dental plan to have access to higher coverage in the Enhanced Plan.

“The $290 Basic Plan was set at the price level in order to be very similar to what students were paying for previously, and the Enhanced Plan was set at $360 in order to still be reasonable for students while providing quality health and dental coverage.”

Differences between the Enhanced and Basic plans include a respective $2 000 cap on prescription drugs versus a $1 000 cap, and an $800 cap for dental coverage versus a $600 cap.

Students who have health and dental plans with equivalent coverage to that of the UVSS, such as a parent or spousal benefit plan, can opt out entirely and have the fee credited to their account.

You will have to show proof of the equivalent coverage, however. B.C. Residents are covered under the British Columbia Medical Services Plan (MSP), but this is not an extended health plan and is by no means equivalent coverage. 

Students are also given the option to opt-out of just the health or just the dental plan, if they show proof of equivalent health or dental coverage.

To opt out, students can visit studentcare.ca and follow the on-screen instructions to prove their alternative coverage before Sept. 22.

*This piece has been edited for clarification purposes.

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