The upcoming SFSS elections bring with them a myriad of questions to put to referendum, one of which involves potential fee increases in the student health and dental plan.
The SFSS Extended Health and Dental plan was launched in 2008 at a fixed fee of $198. At the time, students voted in a referendum for coverage levels they felt were necessary; however, they also voted for the plan’s price ceiling, a number which the the SFSS board of directors asserts can no longer cover the desired services due to increasing healthcare costs.
Because benefits have already been reduced several times since 2008, the board feels it is necessary to offer students an enhanced plan. The enhanced plan would cost $255, $57 more than the $198 basic plan.
This would not, however, mean that all students would be paying a higher amount for their health and dental. At the Feb. forum meeting, Kristin Foster, Pacific & Western Director at Studentcare, explained that students would have the option of choosing between several different plans.
In addition to choosing between basic and enhanced, students would be able to customize their plans based on individual needs.
A second question being put to referendum would give the board of directors the power to increase plan fees by a maximum of five per cent in any given year. At a meeting on Mar. 3, education representative Gloria Mellesmoen brought up her concerns: “Everything is costing more, and student loans aren’t really giving us more money,” she said. “I’m really uncomfortable with the idea that 16 people can [decide to] increase my fees by five per cent.”
President Humza Khan replied that the board already possesses the power to reduce benefits, which would be another tool in their inventory. “Instead of me making a decision about what benefit to cut, which may affect someone’s life and health directly, I feel more comfortable about making a decision on whether to increase the price by five per cent or not,” he said.
The two questions will be voted on by students in the upcoming elections. The voting period runs from Mar. 25 to 28.