Students might be facing a referendum on whether to adopt a health and dental plan this semester.
Kate Bissell, University of Regina Studentsı Union (URSU) Vice-president Student Affairs, has been working on a plan for the past few months, and is hoping to bring it before the students before the end of March.
In the current proposal, students would receive eighty per cent coverage on basic and accidental dental services, as well as on prescription drugs, including oral contraceptives. The premiums would be about $125 per year.
³I think having a health and dental plan is really important becase weıre one of the poorest groups in society,² said Bissell.
Students already covered under a plan at their workplace would have the right to opt out.
Students covered under their parentıs plan would not be able to opt out but through combining the plans would likely, in most cases, be able to get 100 per cent coverage said Bissell.
Concerns are being raised, however, about lack of student input, the cost of the plan, and the inflexibility of not being able to voluntarily opt out.
³The [URSU Board of Directors] still hasnıt had a presentation on the different plans available,² said Meghan Partington, URSU V-P Internal. ³I think itıs a good idea but it needs more student input into what exactly should be in it.²
The URSU Board of Directors has been discussing the possibility of the plan for the past few weeks, and it came up in last yearıs election campaign. Heath Packman, a fourth-year economics major, was a candidate in the 1999 election for V-P Projects and one of the issues he was interested in was that of a student health plan.
Packman said the idea of a health plan is a good idea, because many students probably pay at least $125 a year getting teeth cleanings, various prescriptions, or dental work. Even if itıs their parents paying for it, their parents stand to save money through the plan as well.
Students going away on work-terms also stand to benefit, Packman pointed out, because the plan is portable within Canada. Often students arenıt covered, or are only partially covered, when theyıre working on co-op work terms.
³Itıs quantitatively something real that URSU can offer for students, for them to see, touch, get their mitts on,² Packman said.
The URSU Board of Directors voted last week to hold a referendum on the health plan, but the chair later ruled that the motion should have been a ³notice of motion² so the motion would be presented at this weekıs meeting again.
A number of board members raised concerns about the lack of consultation, as well as the potential cost of a separate referendum on the issue. Bissell said she is hoping to get the issue onto the same ballots students will be voting on when they elect next yearıs URSU board.
The board members generally agree that a referendum is better than simply presenting the motion at an Annual General Meeting, because more students can get input into the decision.
Students may have to wait until next year for the referendum, though, because time is running out for a full campaign on the issue.