Your Health Plan and You

(Krista Murray/The Quill)

For those who are unaware, students registered in 12 or more credit hours are automatically enrolled in the student union’s health and dental plan. Students may opt out of the mandatory plan, which adds $250 to your tuition, as long as the student has an alternate insurance plan (which can also be coverage through a parent’s or spouse’s plan). The opt-out deadline is September 26th. After this point, BUSU will be unable to remove you from the plan. Part-time students and students with families may also add themselves and family members to the plan for an additional charge. The opt-in deadline is Monday, October 23rd.

For the past two years, our Union has had a plan for students through Green Shield, and this year has brokered a new plan through Medavie Blue Cross. Through this plan, students will receive health, dental, vision, and travel insurance.

Covered under health insurance is prescription drug coverage. If your preferred pharmacy happens to be the MedSafe Pharmacy across the street from Brandon University (335 18th Street), BUSU’s partnered pharmacy, generic medications on the plan will be 100% covered, while brand name medications on the plan will be 70% covered. If your preferred pharmacy is any other pharmacy (Wal-Mart, Superstore, Sobey’s, etc.), generic medications will have 70% coverage, while brand name medications will have 60% coverage. Another method of receiving medications at 100% coverage for generic medications and 70% brand name medications is the Direct2U service, which delivers your prescriptions to the BUSU office, to be picked up by students.

Students will also be entitled to chiropractor, podiatrist, chiropodist, speech therapist, naturopath, acupuncturist, osteopath, and dietician appointments for up to $40/visit, and a maximum of $300/benefit year. With prescription, students may also receive care from registered massage therapists and physiotherapists under the same benefit conditions. The plan covers psychologist and social workers for students who require those services at no per visit maximum. Orthotic appliances and orthopedic shoes are covered at a maximum of $250 combined/benefit year.

Medavie Blue Cross also covers vision care for students. This includes frames, lenses, contacts, and eye exams. The eye exam coverage is $75/24 months, while eye wear is covered up to $125/24 months combined. This means that every two years, Blue Cross will cover some of the expenses of needing corrective lenses. As a glasses wearer, this reporter understands the pain of needing to budget in a new pair when prescriptions change.

Dental coverage for students includes examinations, radiographs, and preventative treatments, including x-rays and cleaning. These treatments are 70% covered with an overall maximum of $700/benefit year. More major dental care is 65% covered, and includes fillings, crowns, denture service, root canal therapy, excess scaling, tooth extraction, and anesthesia. Excess scaling is capped at six treatments per benefit year.

While full-time students and part-time students who opt in to the plan are covered by this insurance, it is also a good idea to enrol in Pharmacare. Students must do this in the province in which they hold permanent residence. Many insurance plans ask that the holder also enrol in the national health coverage.

It should be noted that there is a black-out period for students to use the insurance plan. This black-out will end when the opt-in period concludes. If you need medications or dental work, hold on to your receipts for manual submission, or use the Direct2U service for your prescriptions.

For help with opting in, opting out, or manual submission, or if you just have other questions about the health care plan, stop by the BUSU office or email