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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Students decry health plan

    Some graduate students are voicing discontent with their UA health coverage options now that the UA has renewed its current contract with Aetna Student Health.

    The details of the new policy haven’t yet been decided, but students fear increases in their out-of-pocket costs, in addition to concerns about the current quality of care.

    Hope Jones, president of the Associate Graduate Council for the College of Science, said the UA falls in the lowest percentile of graduate student healthcare programs among Research 1 Institutes.

    The graduate council is suggesting separate healthcare plans for graduate students and undergraduate students.

    “”Given the very different needs and situations of the two different student bodies, from the graduate students’ perspective – this is our job,”” Jones said. “”We are typically different age groups and focused on preventive care.””

    Jones said the university’s current economic state is another cause for concern for graduate students who receive their healthcare from the UA.

    “”With the radical transformation our university is starting to undergo to meet budget challenges, even our current healthcare is in jeopardy,”” Jones said. “”We already have extremely limited medication coverage and no dental coverage.””

    In the past, students were able to purchase their own health insurance policies based on the amount that was best suited for their needs, she said.

    The Arizona Board of Regents currently mandates that students at the UA, Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University all maintain the same student health coverage.

    “”My husband and I received hospital charges for $1,000,”” Jones said. “”Then I researched and found out it was 100 percent approved from the network. This just shouldn’t happen.””

    With such problems arising from the coverage, Jones said there should be better communication between Campus Health Services and the student body.

    “”The majority of students (are) completely unaware of what exactly our policy includes,”” Jones said. “”There is definitely a shortfall of communication between Campus Health Services and the students.””

    Kris Kreutz, Campus Health director of administrative services, said the current coverage of prescription drugs is a major issue for many graduate students.

    “”Students will have to spend $1,500 in prescriptions before they receive their first benefit,”” Kreutz said. “”It’s a two-edged sword. It helps some, but others it doesn’t tend to help.””

    Because students technically have prescription coverage, they no longer qualify for discounts from drug manufacturers, Jones said.

    Campus Health Services will not allow students to customize their coverage because the costs could rise to 30 to 70 percent above where they currently are.

    Although there is dissatisfaction among some students, Kreutz said the coverage is one of the best options for the price.

    “”This is a very good and solid program,”” Kreutz said. “”It’s important students read and understand what they’re paying for so they don’t expect something that may not be here.””

    He said students are encouraged to share their thoughts and ideas with the Student Health Insurance Advisory Committee.

    “”We are aware of the problems and are sensitive to the needs of the students,”” Kreutz said. “”It’s something we need to work through.””

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