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A question of health

SU health and dental plan could go up or just go

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It is certainly the "healthiest" of the 2002 referenda questions.

One of the many referenda questions on the ballots of the Students' Union general election in March asks if students will support increasing the fee levied for the SU's Undergraduate Health and Dental Plan to either $64 per session or $47 per session. Students currently pay $45 each session.

"We haven't taken [the levy] to referendum in a number of years," said SU Vice-President Operations and Finance Natasha Dhillon. "Our claims got incredibly high, but we started out with a buffer zone. We've been paying much more than what students are paying. We are at a point where we can't do that anymore so students have to pay what the plan costs."

The cost of the plan to the SU must increase regardless of the results of the referendum. According to Dhillon, if students do not approve one of the levy increases, decisions must be made regarding what services to cut.

"Less services is one possibility or the other one is that it could end," she said, although terminating the plan is not an option Dhillon would like to pursue. "For the most part I get really good comments from students on the plan. Most of the things they want are covered."

Ultimately, the levy changes may not influence the services offered. The provincial government has indicated that some health care services covered under the plan might be delisted, forcing yet another increase in a few years just to maintain the current standard of service.

"We don't know what will be lost next year," said Dhillon. "So there's no idea of what we will need to fight for when we go to the negotiations table."

Gallivan and Associates administers the plan with Clarica Life Insurance Company providing health coverage and Liberty Health covering dental services.

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