By Akihiko Tse
The Executive Team of the College has approved an enhanced health and dental plan, and a referendum is set to be held April 3 and 4, coinciding with the CCSAI’s election dates.
The referenda were initially scheduled for March 27 and 28, but the changes to the dates come after the college deemed the duration period for advertising the original referenda too short and its wording too problematic. Consequently, it was delayed for a week.
Under the new plan, domestic students would receive dental and vision care, chiropractic services, physiotherapy, massage therapy and oral birth control. this would be in addition to their current health care coverage, which covers 90 per cent of most prescription drugs.
Should the referenda pass, all full-time and part-time domestic students will pay $75 per semester, an increase of $57.50 from the current $17.50 per semester health plan fee. Students will not be able to opt out of the health portion of the new plan, but will be able to opt out of the dental portion if comparable coverage can be proven. They would receive a $50 refund.
“This is exactly the plan that the students wanted,” said Penny Kirlik, Executive Director of the Centennial College Student Association Incorporated (CCSAI).
The plan was provided by Medavie Blue Cross since 1999. It could be replaced by Sun Life Financial. Eight carriers were approached and three quoted. Green Shield Canada and Medavie Blue Cross were the other two to provide quotes in addition to Sun Life Financial.
The cost of the enhanced health plan includes taxes and a mark-up price ($75 per semester) which Kirlik says is necessary in order to build up a reserve in the event that usage is heavily exceeded.
“We’ve asked them to give us a price that they will hold for two years, because we don’t know how much the plan, especially the dental part, is going to be used,” Kirlik said.
The CCSAI would access the reserve fund should premiums increase after the two-year rate guarantee, and so “we may not have to increase premiums to students,” she said.
She added that after the first year and a half, the CCSAI would revisit the prices and open negotiations for a renewal.
Karan Warraich, the current president of the CCSAI, said that the plan has been in the making for the last three years.
“I’ve seen and heard students asking why doesn’t [the health plan] cover dental or eye care or birth control, so I promised in my nomination [for president] that there would be a new plan,” said Warraich, who is in his third term on the board. “I’m looking forward to it and I’m pretty sure that we’ll get it and students will benefit from this,” he said.