Capilano Students’ Union offers health and dental plan to students
// Celina Kurz

The new school year is often accompanied by change. This year at Capilano, students are now being offered something our school has never had in the past : a health and dental plan. After much deliberation and careful planning beginning in 2009, and with 97% of voting students voting in favour of implementing a health and dental plan in a referendum last April, the Health and Dental Committee has finally solidified a 3-year contract with insurance broker Student Care. Student Care also provides health care plans for UVic, UBC, SFU, Langara, and a huge number of other student associations across Canada.

At the cost of $219 per year, all students taking 9 credits or more will be automatically opted into a plan that fully or partially covers them for a variety of medical services. Part-time students are also eligible to self-enrol at the slightly higher cost of $328.50 per year. In addition, Student Care also offers the option of enrolling family members (spouse and/or dependents). You can also choose to opt out of either the health or dental plan, or both, if you have an equivalent plan through a parent or workplace.

Student Care has a network of both pharmacies and medical practitioners of all kinds which expands across Canada. Students will still be covered if they use practitioners outside of the network, but if they choose to stay within it, extra bonuses can be applied. For example, when students use their “Pay Direct” card at pharmacies within the network, they will receive their 80% discount immediately at the till.

The CSU plan offers the best coverage for physiotherapy, vision, and psychotherapy of any student plan in BC, and requires no deductible to be paid before receiving benefits. According to research conducted by studentcare.net/works, an equivalent plan to the CSU’s purchased privately would cost over $900 per year, and an equivalent plan supplied by a workplace would cost over $600 per year.

“We picked a plan we thought we could use, not just something that was nice to have,” says David Clarkson, chairperson of the Health and Dental Committee. “As the Director of the Capilano Students' Union responsible for the plan, I'm comforted to know that all full-time students will have affordable access to this basic necessity…The survey we conducted in early February was a real wake-up call in terms of how few students were actually covered by both a health and dental plan [35%] and how this lack of coverage affected students.”

The wide variety of benefits, plus the relatively low cost, have some students very excited. Jen Ellin, a Capilano student, says, “It’s better than my mom's coverage, and she's a judge! I’m stoked to have massage therapy and the chiropractor covered, right now I'm paying $40 a visit.” And while Katherine Alpen, a student about to enter her first year in the musical theatre program, is “sceptical” about the new plan, she admits she looks forward to her first dental check up in a while. “I have crappy teeth.”

However, not all students are as excited about the new plan. Because all full-time students are automatically opted into this plan, students who already have coverage through a parent or spouse are required to opt out from the plan. Some students who have attempted the process were disappointed and frustrated by how difficult it was. “Opting out was a total pain,” says student Ingrid Rondel. Lyle Hopkins agrees, adding “[I] wish they didn’t automatically opt you in. [There] should be an opt in function.”

Students who wish to opt out can do so between August 15 and September 27. This “change of coverage period” is also the time frame given to students who wish to opt their dependents or spouses into the plan. Upon opting out, the cost of the plan will appear as a credit on your student account.

As part of their service to Capilano University, Student Care has created a website providing extensive information about the plan, www.ihaveaplan.ca. On the site, you can find a full listing of the services covered and practitioners within the Student Care network, as well as instructions on how to place claims and use the plan to one’s best advantage. In addition, you can find comprehensive information on who exactly can self-enrol or be opted into the plan, and how to do so. The website is very transparent, easy to navigate, and offers helpful video guides which explain various aspects of the plan. Clarkson makes it very clear that that the CSU is “making sure people can make the most of the plan...we don’t want people to not take advantage of it.”

To find out more about your new student plan, visit their website at www.ihaveaplan.ca, or phone their student help line from Monday to Friday between 9 am and 5 pm at 1-866-416-8701.

// Celina Kurz
Copy Editor

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© 2011 The Capilano Courier. phone: 604.984.4949 fax: 604.984.1787 email: editor@capilanocourier.com