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Letters to the Editor 12/6
Published 12/6/2011
Comments (2)

Final decision on health benefits is still pending

Editor:

Thank you for printing the letter about possible changes to the graduate student medical plan. The Counseling and Student Health Advisor Committee (CSHAC), a group comprised of both WSU students and administrators, strongly desires extensive student input into decisions about student benefits. The Affordable Care Act, signed into law in March 2010, mandates the inclusion of specific benefits into all health care plans, including the WSU grad student plan. Many of the mandated benefits are desirable, but increasing benefits usually increases cost. The original proposal from our insurance broker, the “confidential” document referred to in Monday’s letter to The Daily Evergreen, was just that – a preliminary proposal from the insurance broker presented at the November CSHAC meeting.

After viewing the unsatisfactory proposal, CSHAC requested the broker 1) get alternative bids from other insurance companies that incorporate the mandated benefits while maintaining current benefits, and 2) get another proposal from our current insurance carrier that takes into consideration that many of the mandated benefits are already provided at no additional cost to the insurance company through WSU Health and Wellness Services and WSU Counseling and Testing Services. These actions are aimed at managing any price increases and possibly avoiding any substantial benefit reductions. Our goal is always to negotiate optimal benefits at the best price.

Once CSHAC has gathered details of all available options, the intent is to provide this information for student feedback. CSHAC did discuss doing a survey to gather graduate student opinions before the end of fall semester but decided it would be most beneficial to wait until more details about all options were available. A final decision about this issue does not need to be made until February.

CSHAC asked the GPSA representative to share the initial proposal and other information with graduate students to prepare for upcoming discussions about this issue. This is a complex and detailed process that we realize we may not have initially communicated about clearly, but we are definitely trying to doing so. Any suggestions or comments about the process are encouraged.

Christina Low
graduate student, CSHAC chair

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