Beginning Sept. 18, all UC students will fall under a newly restructured Student Health Insurance Plan.
The new program will cost $300 more per year for undergraduates but now includes dental coverage in addition to existing medical, mental health, vision and pharmaceutical services. The self-funded plan, which was introduced to graduate students on six UC campuses last year, is administered by Anthem Blue Cross and gives students coverage for any doctor in their network. Ultimately, the arrangement will cost undergraduates $1,293 per year and graduate students $2,346 per year.
Director of Student Health Dr. Mary Ferris said the UC Office of the President spearheaded the consolidation as part of its Working Smarter initiative to streamline administrative services systemwide.
“We were asked to look into a unified plan, better services for students and more uniformity,” Ferris said. “We looked at commercial plans as well as the option of self-funding in which case major companies play the role of administrator. The best deal for the university was to have a self-funded plan administered by Anthem Blue Cross.”
Ferris said students will largely benefit from the new arrangement despite the increased cost. “It’s going to result in a better health plan for students,” Ferris said. “It is still a health plan based at Student Health as the medical home for students, and it is still a regular insurance plan that can be used all over the world, not just for Student Health on campus.” There will also be a significant expansion in pharmaceutical coverage, according to Ferris.
“Another change is that the pharmacy maximum is higher, so for those students who need a lot of medication, the cap is higher,” Ferris said. “There is also lower co-pay on medicines, only five dollars for generic and 25 dollars for brand name, so students will be excited about that.”
Megan Ricciardi, a fourth-year anthropology and religious studies major, said while she will be glad to receive dental coverage, the new plan still leaves room for improvement.
“I’ve always found [Student Health] helpful but their hours could be more convenient,” Ricciardi said. “What if I need to go in and it’s the weekend? It’s not very accessible. But I’m excited about the new dental plan because I don’t have dental insurance from home, so this will save me money in the long run.”