Out of 100 University of Guelph-Humber students who were randomly polled by the media studies publication GH360 only 17 per cent use the dental insurance, which is a mandatory part of the students’ tuition.
Of the 83 per cent who do not use this insurance, many cited being on their parents’ plan or were unaware that they were paying for the coverage.
Many of the students polled by GH360 agreed that it may be time to change the insurance plan. Several spoke about creating opt-out options, or eliminating the plan entirely.
When asked why it is mandatory, Maheen Nazim, the Guelph-Humber vice-president of Ignite student council explained that insurance plans are much higher at other schools where students sometimes pay twice the amount that Guelph-Humber students pay. She said,
“the reason that that premium is so low [at Guelph-Humber] is because it is mandatory for all students to opt-in.”
At the University of Guelph, participation in dental insurance is not mandatory as students are on a different plan that allows them to opt-out.
When asked why it is mandatory for Guelph-Humber students to pay for dental and not University of Guelph students, the president of the University of Guelph Central Student Association (CSA), Jack Fisher said, “I don’t know, I actually found it quite beneficial for us to be able to opt-out of the dental plan if you don’t need it.”
Lee Anne Clarke, the business manager of CSA, explained that while University of Guelph students are on a universal health plan, the school decided to use a dental plan where students can opt-out if they have proof of other coverage and opt back in if their situation ever changed.
According to Clarke, an active committee is used at the University of Guelph to ensure student perspective is part of the insurance plan decision making. Clarke said, “We thought decisions made about health care or dental care need to be done by people that represent different sectors on campus.”
On the course website on Oct. 2, 2018, “insurance-dental” was listed as $54.68.
Since GH360 brought this information to James Walker, manager of student financial services, the amount was corrected to $86.74. Walker noted that the originally posted amount was inaccurate and should have reflected both dental and extended health fees.
Students should head to wespeakstudent.com to find out more about the insurance plan and for information on how to opt-out of the prescription drug portion.