Undercover Joe – Health and Dental Plan: Staying in or opting-out?

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Undercover Joe

Need a prescription filled? Have a toothache? Ryerson’s got you covered — sort of.

All full-time students are charged $295 for the Ryerson Students’ Union’s (RSU) Health and Dental Insurance as part of their tuition. The health plan covers 100 per cent of physiotherapy, chiropractics, massage therapy, naturopath, out-of-country emergency and travel assistance and other medical benefits and services like orthopedic shoes, and medical equipment like wheel chairs and crutches. If Tylenol 3’s are what the doctor ordered, however, students have to fork over some dough as the plan covers only 80 per cent of prescriptions.

A trip to the dentist requires some coin as well. The dental plan covers 80 per cent of diagnostic and preventive treatments (like your basic exam), 75 per cent of fillings and extractions (the dreaded wisdom teeth removal) and only 10 per cent of other dentistry like root canals, oral surgery, and restorative work like crowns and dentures.

Amanda Colagiacomo, a third-year early childhood education student, used RSU’s Dental Insurance to cover some of the cost of getting her teeth cleaned. The insurance covered 80 per cent of the $120 bill leaving Colagiacomo about $25 to pay.

“The plan is a great thing for Ryerson to offer,” said Colagiacomo. “Health and dental bills can add up and it’s nice to know that all of the cost doesn’t have to come out of your pocket.”

Some one else already footing the bill? Students with other coverage can opt-out of the RSU’s plan and get a refund of that $295 — but time is ticking. To opt-out, students must fill out the Fall 2008 Opt-Out form and provide proof of other coverage — including either a photocopy of a benefits card, letter from an employer, or statement from a previous claim. Opt-out refund cheques can be picked up (usually after a long line up) in November. There’s some good news: after you opt-out once, you don’t need to do the paperwork again (as long as you remain a full-time student) and an opt-out cheque will be ready for you to pick up.

Third-year social work student, Sarah Silman said the RSU does not advertise the insurance enough. “I had the insurance for two years when I had other coverage, and didn’t even know.”

If a student has lost other coverage after previously opting out of the plan, they can opt-in by completing a similar form, the Fall 2008 Opt-In Form.

Students have the option of adding dependents onto their Health and Dental Insurance — including spouses, common-law partners, same-sex partners and children under 21 or children under 25 if still attending school — by paying an additional fee; $295 for one dependent, $419 for two.

The deadline to opt-in/out or add dependents is Friday, Oct. 3 at 6 p.m. Forms and other documents need to be brought in in-person to the Member Services Office in the Student Centre.

-3.5 perscription pills out of 5.

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