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Health plan centre stage



The proposed Student Union health centre may bring with it, increased health and dental fees.

According to a document prepared by Studentcare (the plan provider) for the Student Union on the impact of health and dental practitioners in student union buildings, a health centre “has a very major impact on the health and dental plan that can increase costs by up to 50%.” The document goes on to say that this “led to Studentcare’s longstanding position that health providers were not a beneficial fit for student union buildings, once all underlying factors were accounted for.”

However, already $16,000 has been spent on renovating the SUB third floor space to accommodate a health centre, according to Sukhi Brar, SUS president.

Brar declined to comment on what the intentions of the Student Union were moving forward but said that the item would be discussed at the upcoming SUS board meeting on Tuesday, March 28.

The Studentcare document goes on to say that the “introduction of a dental provider in a SUB leads to a large increase in dental claims through the student plan. This phenomenon was first noted at the University of Windsor … where a dental clinic opening led to a $500,000 deficit on the student dental plan.”

The University of Saskatchewan student union saw a 25 per cent increase after the first four months of the clinic being opened, a 41 per cent increase was seen by the University of Toronto Scarborough campus student union a year after the clinic opened, and the University of Waterloo felt a 35 per cent increase after a year of opening.

“Oftentimes, this decision is purely a business operations decision, or is made at an executive level without consultation or analysis from the perspective of the health and dental plan committee,” the document states.

“While dental clinics on campus lead to dramatically increased claims (which is worrisome from a financial stability perspective), it is indicative of increased awareness of the student service.”

Last term’s numbers

The UFV students’ health and dental plan annual claims report of the 2015-16 year showed that $579,846 in premiums was paid to Studentcare while claims paid out to students totalled $511,088.

Based on those numbers, the loss ratio from the 2015-16 term was 88 per cent.

Loss ratio is the difference between the premium paid to the insurer and claims paid out. Simply put, if $100 is paid as a premium to the insurance company, and an $80 chiropractic visit is fully covered, the loss ratio for that claim is 80 per cent.

According to Studentcare, a loss ratio around 88-92 per cent is an indication that the plan is used to its full extent because insurer administrative costs are typically between 8-12 per cent.

Breakdown of costs

The drug type with the highest amount of claims was anovulants (birth control) with 958 eligible claims totalling $31,387.73.

The second costliest drug category was antidepressants at $12,456.63 across 599 claims. This was followed by anti-infectants costing $10,990.94 for 609 claims.

The six most expensive drugs by amount paid out were all birth controls. The seventh most expensive category was an amphetamine; eighth was an inhaler for preventing / reducing asthma attacks; nine and ten were more birth controls.

Extended health care claims paid out to students totalled $44,172.15. This includes chiropractic, physiotherapist, and massage visits, among other extend health services.

Of the dental claims, 59.03 per cent went to preventative services, 40.66 per cent paid for fillings, minor restoratives / surgery, and 0.32 per cent was paid to prosthesis or major restoratives.

The student opt-out rate from the plan in 2015-16 was 34.88 per cent while 36.26 per cent opted out for the current 2016-17 term.

Although the agenda has not yet been released, the tentative plan will see the health centre discussed at the next SUS board meeting, scheduled to take place Tuesday, March 28 at 6:00 p.m. on the Abbotsford campus in S3102.

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