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Health plan at Loyalist College covers less than other Ontario schools

Health Centre Sign

The health plan run by Loyalist College’s student government doesn’t cover birth control. However, students get a reduced price on different forms of birth control if they get a prescription through the Student Health Centre. Photo by Leah Den Hartogh, QNet News

By Leah Den Hartogh [1]

BELLEVILLE – If students at Loyalist College want a larger health-insurance plan it is up to them to work with their student government to get it.

The college’s health insurance plan [2] – administered by the student government – do not cover birth control or provide dental or vision coverage.

Health insurance is just one of many things students pay for in their ancillary fees each semester. Currently students pay $26 a semester for a plan that includes prescription-drug and accident-insurance coverage only.

This past fall Loyalist’s student government surveyed students to ask if they would be willing to pay a higher fee for more coverage. It would cost students an extra $25 per semester for full birth-control coverage, $65 for dental and $20 for vision.

The results of the survey were that 42 per cent said yes to adding birth control to the fees, 50 per cent said yes to vision care, and 53 per cent wanted dental care added. So far, however, no changes have been made to the plan.

Another survey will be conducted this month asking about a wider range of options, according to Fred Pollitt, the student-services director at Loyalist, who works with the student government. The final decision on changing the health plan is up to the students and what they’re willing to pay, Pollitt told QNet News this week.

Currently, he said, “I think the students get very good value for their money.”

Asked why birth control is not included in the prescription portion of the existing plan, he said, “With birth control we found that it was cheaper for students to buy it through our student health centre.” Students who get a birth-control prescription through the health centre can buy birth-control pills and NuvaRing [3] for $10 a month, considerably less than the full price, and Depo-Provera [4] for $22 per injection. The only form of birth control that the plan doesn’t cover is the IUD [5] (intrauterine device).

Students are unable to opt out of the existing plan. Schools that have more extensive plans do offer the ability to opt out.

Two such schools are Oshawa-based Durham College [6] and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology [7].

Donna Judson, the health plan co-ordinator for Durham and UOIT, told QNet News that 20,000 students between the two schools are registered in a plan that allows them optional dental and extended health coverage. They are unable to opt out of mandatory prescription, travel and accident coverage, she said.

Durham and UOIT students pay $193.46 at the beginning of the school year for full-year coverage. They are reimbursed $100.02 if they opt out of dental and extended health coverage. Students there can also add dependents to their coverage, for an extra fee.

Students at Fleming College [8] in Peterborough can choose between three health plans: a standard one, an enhanced prescription and vision plan, and an enhanced dental and vision plan.

All three options costs the same: $225 for the full school year. Students have the option of opting out and getting back all but $5, which goes toward mandatory accident, death and dismemberment coverage.

Do you think that Loyalist College’s student government needs to up its health-care coverage?

Absolutely! Every school should have full coverage.
I’m covered under my parents’ plan, so it doesn’t really affect me.
Not if it’s going to raise my tuition.
I’m for it even if I don’t use it myself.
[9] [9]

SurveyMaker [10]