The Student Insurance Task Force met today to discuss proposed changes to GA health insurance next year. The task force is a committee appointed by the provost to make recommendations to the university about student insurance plans, including those offerred to undergraduates, graduate assistants, and to students who are on “mandated” plans (i.e. people who work in medical settings at USF). In the last few months, the task force has made a few decisions regarding insurance plans, and we have talked extensively about the impact that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) on those plans. We have also discussed the relative utilization of each plan with respect to its premium. So far, many of the decisions we have made have not impacted GA’s. Today, however, the task force agreed to a few changes that will likely impact our coverage in the next academic year (13-14). Among the most significant changes are:
- In-network coverage will be reduced from 90% to 80% (doubling out-of-pocket costs) in 13-14
- Some mandated/supported students will be rolled over from the Mandated plan to the GA plan.
- The cost of the premium will be going down by about $200
The biggest issue we face is the reduction in our coverage (and increase in out-of-pocket expenses). We have already seen steady increases in copays and reductions in benefits in the last few years, and this is just the latest in an array of “cost sharing” burdens placed upon GA’s. The reduction in coverage was not a task force decision (that is, not something that the GAU had input in), but was instead a decision made by the consortium of Florida universities that collectively negotiate student insurance plans. I asked the director of Student Health if there were any student seats on this consortium, and she said there weren’t any. I volunteered to participate in those discussions for the next consortium meeting, so that we can have input at the next consortium meeting.
This means that it is more important than ever that our voices are heard by the administration. To do that, we need your help to recruit more dues-paying members to make our union stronger. If you would like to volunteer as a steward in your department, please contact us!
Healthy graduate assistants make USF work! Please contact us if you would like more information on the task force decisions. Please note, however, that the task force does not control individual benefits. If you are having issues with your current insurance coverage, please contact the insurance provider.