UC SHIP health care plan faces changes for upcoming school year

UC SHIP health care plan faces changes for upcoming school year

Photo Credits: ZOË REINHARDT / AGGIE

Premiums for student families, mental health resources to decrease

The UC Davis SHIP Committee approved six changes for the 2019-20 insurance coverage year at its Feb. 20 meeting. The committee is a branch of the UC Davis graduate student association that collaborates with the vice chancellor for Student Affairs regarding SHIP coverage.

A survey was sent out by the Healthcare Committee within the Student Workers’ Union (UAW 2856) to gather support from the graduate student community on specific coverage issues.

The survey focused on specific proposed changes including, “a measure to substantially lower the costs of insuring dependents on SHIP by making dependent and graduate student premiums equitable,” said Deborah Young, an associate professor and graduate researcher working with UAW 2856 on these proposed changes.

“Currently, dependent premiums are far more expensive than subscriber costs,” stated the survey notice sent by the committee. This change will reduce premiums for spouses and children by $1,700 per year.

“Our UAW Healthcare Committee ran an issue campaign mostly centered around the first measure and sent out a notice to graduate workers to rally around this cause, to make UC SHIP more affordable for grad families,” Young said.

The notice, which has now been taken down, acknowledged that these coverage changes will not impact every graduate student, but still asked for the graduate student community’s support.

“[A reduction in costs] might make this coverage affordable for some and we must never forget the importance of solidarity because when we support and fight for the needs of others, everyone benefits,” Young said.

The UAW healthcare committee also pledged support for measures that would reduce mental health copays and lab diagnostic test prices. Both measures were approved at the meeting. Beginning in the 2019-20 school year, mental health co-pays will be lowered from $15 to $5. Lab diagnostic tests currently are co-insured at an 80/20 split, which means students are responsible for paying 20 percent of test fees, while UC SHIP covers the remaining 80 percent. Next year, a flat $10 co-pay will replace the 80/20 split.

Other measures passed included lowering Student Health and Counseling Services (SHCS) pharmacy co-pays on name brand medication from $25 to $15, lowering urgent care co-pays from $50 to $25 and an elimination of co-pays for web visits for STI screenings.

While these changes were approved on Feb. 20, the 2019-20 healthcare coverage plan is not yet finalized. Sandy Santiago, the director of information and technology with SHCS, commented on further measures that will be taken before the finalization of SHIP.

“We hadn’t received the UC SHIP vision and dental rates prior to the February 20 meeting,” Santiago said. “The UC Davis SHIP Committee will hold another meeting early in March to finalize these rates.”

Written by: Ally Russell — campus@theaggie.org

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