At their council meeting on Tuesday, September 3rd, BUSU approved two referendum questions to be asked during the by-election. One seeks to lower the amount of credit hours students need to be enrolled in to be automatically a part of BUSU’s Health and Dental Plan. Currently, students who are in a minimum of 9 credit hours per term are automatically members, but can opt-out if they have alternate coverage. Student who aren’t automatically enrolled can choose to opt-in, but it is more expensive than being an automatic member, which reflects how much more money they actually use in the plan on average than students who are automatically enrolled use. Full-time students are charged $250 for the year while opt-in students must pay $375.
The second question is to allow increases to the cost of the Health and Dental Plan, to be paid by students. These increases would help to mitigate the costs of inflation and provide more stable coverage, rather than having to continually cut benefits. Students, by choosing not to increase their costs, are losing value on their plan as costs increase.
Both questions were initiated by Krystal Kayne, BUSU’s Part-Time and Mature Students Commissioner. In speaking about lowering the threshold for automatic enrolment, Kayne explained that, “Many part time students that I have spoken to over the past year and a half have expressed they were unhappy with how this program worked at BU and asked if anything could be done to help alleviate the costs”. She began working on this initiative last year, and after a meeting with a representative from Morneau Shepell, the providers of Greenshield Insurance, they found out they could reduce the requirement for automatic enrolment, but must do so through a referendum.” When asked about the question addressing increases, Kayne says, “in the past 5 years, BU students have lost $150+ worth of benefits” due to costs increasing but the plan fee staying stagnant.
BUSU will begin its efforts to educate campus about the referenda questions in the next few weeks. If there are other questions, Krystal Kayne can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or found on the Brandon University Part Time and Mature Students Facebook page. Other Health and Dental questions, including information about opting out, can be directed to Matthew May, BUSU Vice-President Internal at email@example.com.
Republished from The Quill print edition, Volume 104, Issue 2, September 10, 2013.