Daily Egyptian

Student government: It’s now or never to pass ACA-compliant health plan

SIUC students are united in calling for quality and affordable healthcare. In 2010, Congress passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), popularly known as “Obamacare.” This bill raised the standards for health insurance nationwide. Currently, however, SIUC’s Student Health Insurance does not meet the standard of federal law. Together, both the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) and Graduate and Professional Student Council (GPSC) call on the SIU Board of Trustees to pass the proposal—selected and vetted by students—to bring ACA-compliant health insurance to students.

During the 2014-2015 academic year, SIUC students paid an insurance fee of $437 per semester. In the 2015-2016 academic year, an ACA-compliant plan would cost $148 more per student per semester for an unprecedented range of new benefits. Although many of the details of the two plans are the same, including the deductible, maximum out-of-pocket, and co-insurance ratio, there are many new benefits to be gained under the new plan, including but not limited to the following:

Benefit

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New Plan

Current Plan

Lifetime maximum benefit

No maximum

$250,000 maximum

Pre-existing conditions

No exclusions

Excluded

Physical and occupational therapy, mental health visits

No limits

Limited number of visits per year

Preventative care (immunizations, screenings, physicals)

Included at no cost

None

Spouse / domestic partner / dependent coverage

Available

None

Pharmacy benefits

Included; $10/$30/$60 copays. Free birth control.

None

The student body at SIUC has repeatedly expressed its interest in and support for an ACA-compliant insurance plan. Students are willing to pay more for higher quality health insurance. Students have done their due diligence in researching alternative and affordable health insurance options: we have worked for years to bring this proposal to our Board Of Trustees for approval. The student health insurance program is at a vital crossroads—either the new ACA-compliant plan is adopted or SIUC will cease to offer student health insurance during the next academic year. This would adversely impact more than 11,000 students at SIUC who currently enroll in the plan. We support the proposal of our university administration to increase the Student Insurance Fee and bring the minimum health insurance required by federal law to the students of our university. We respectfully ask that the SIU Board of Trustees hear our call and vote for a new student insurance plan at SIUC. If you are a student who would benefit from an ACA-compliant insurance plan, a parent or community member with stake in the issue, we humbly ask that you reach out to our board, and let your opinion be known.

Cameron Shulak, President

Undergraduate Student Government

Matt Ryg, President

Graduate and Professional Student Council

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