Insurance plan hard for students to understand

A fog of confusion continues to cloud students’ understanding of next year’s mandatory health insurance plan’s details, and according to Graduate Student Senate, time and clarity are of the essence.

Legislation passed last Friday by the Graduate Student Senate calls for getting all information about the mandatory health insurance plan to students faster and making its coverage more clear-cut so everyone on campus can understand what they may be paying for.

“There was some problems with the info relay last year,” said Kelly Lang, student affairs chair of GSS, who also is the GSS representative on the Health Insurance Advisory Committee.

“Many students were concerned about health insurance costs and coverage and wanted to ensure that they receive the information in a more timely fashion so that they can make informed decisions,” Lang added.

The legislation, which was created and submitted by graduate students Kelly Lang, Kelly Schulz and Ryan Rahrig, has a petition attached to it as well.

“[The purpose of] the petition is to show that there are a lot of other students on campus who care about this issue, not just the GSS,” said Schulz, who started the petition with Rahrig.

While Lang didn’t actually create or distribute the petition, which is campus-wide, she did give Schulz and Rahrig some guidance.

The petition, as it stands now, is specifically focused on getting clear details about reproductive health coverage in the insurance plan, which includes contraceptive and abortion coverage, and making information like that delivered faster to students.

Schulz said that some of the wording in the insurance plan packet is in general about its coverage and not always delivered quick enough for students to waive it if they want, for reasons that may include religious objections or cost issues.

To Schulz’s amazement, the petition has been doing well so far.

“Surprisingly, it has been pretty successful,” she said. “I can’t give you the total yet … I know we have at least a couple hundred [signatures].”

Regardless of the petition’s more specific focus, the main objective goes hand in hand with the GSS legislation, according to Lang.

“The desire for information is a common goal regardless of personal motivation,” she said.

And while Glenn Egelman, director and physician-in-chief of Student Health Services, couldn’t be reached for comment, Lang said that GSS is working hand in hand with the Health Center on this issue.

“GSS and the health care center are working together to get the information to the students,” she added.

But while students like Schulz, Rahrig and Lang just want the information delivered more timely and to be clearer, other students don’t want certain parts of the plan to be covered at all.

“We want the abortion coverage taken off of the health care plan,” said junior Mike Woodall, concerning the objective of his petition on campus.

Woodall, who is in organizations such as the College Republicans, Falcons for Life, and Students for Academic Freedom, has these organizations’ support as well as some faculty and nearly 200 students’ support for his petition.

Woodall, these three organizations, and “anyone who wants to take part,” are helping to circulate the petition right now, and on March 13 at 5:30 p.m., they’ll have a rally at the Union Free Speech Circle about the petition.

“It’s called ‘Rally for Change,'” he said. “[We want] to rally to the University that we don’t support the abortion coverage.”