Dentists are expensive, I just found out

Capilano University could soon be playing a very active role in its students’ smiles.

The Capilano Students’ Union (CSU) is looking to implement a dental plan, which will offset the cost of dental work for students who attend Capilano University. Currently, Capilano is one of the few universities in BC not offering dental coverage to its students.

“We’ve just be been looking at different programs and different companies that offer it [a student dental plan],” says Gurpreet Kambo, who is part of the CSU’s executive. He added that it that it will probably be taken up with more priority soon than it has in recent months.

Richard McCrae, Chair of the Services Committee for the CSU, says, “I’d like to see the groundwork put in place for this coming semester, but I don’t expect anything concrete to happen until next fall.”

There are quite a few different plans available, but presently many post-secondary institutions offer student dental plans through the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS).  The CFS offers health, dental, and vision insurance via the National Students’ Health Network, an organization the CFS founded in 1985. This Network works with Greenshield, a Canadian non-profit insurance provider. UVIC uses Greenshield to provide a dental plan option to their students.

Going through Greenshield is not the only option, however. UBC and SFU, for example, offer a dental plan to their students through Sun Life Assurance. BCIT and Kwantlen use Great-West Life Assurance.

“We’ve been looking at what other campuses offer recently and exploring our options, cost-wise,” says McCrae.

According to the Alma Mater Society of UBC Vancouver, it costs students $216.31 annually for UBC’s health, dental, and vision plan. Under Greenshield, it costs students at the University of Victoria $285.60. At Kwantlen, students are paying $179.00 annually towards their health and dental plans cumulatively.

The Services Committee has been in touch with a representative from Ontario and are planning on meeting in the next month to go over various plans, and give themselves the opportunity to ask questions.

“That won’t necessarily be our final choice,” says McCrae.

As it would increase student fees, the implementation of a student dental plan at Cap would “have to be passed as a referendum,” says Kambo.

“The difference between a health plan and something like the U-Pass,” says McCrae, “is that students would have the opportunity to opt-out if they already had coverage.”

There is, however, some question about whether the implementation of a dental plan would be passed as a motion.

“It depends on the demographics of the school,” says Kambo, “Some people think a lot of people already have coverage.”

Brad Bereziak, a student at Capilano University, is one such an example.  “I’m still covered under my mom’s dental plan through her work while I’m in school,” he says.  When asked if he would go under a potential dental plan at Capilano he replied, “Probably not.”

“It will take a while to make sure we’re getting the best plan for our students, and the more help we can get from the student body, the better,” says McCrae.

Russ Miller, a first-year student, says he would use the dental plan “because I don’t have a dental plan outside of Capilano.”

It is up to the CSU to determine what the viable options are for a dental plan service, but in the end it comes down to student vote.

“When we’ve picked the plan we feel will work best, a referendum will be held to ensure this is something the students want to go for,” explained McCrae.

“We should have a dental plan,” says Miller, “We’re a university.”

//Samantha Thompson

Assistant News Editor

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