Next Insurance Meeting 8/3/2010

If you didn’t get a chance to come to our last insurance information and discussion meeting, there will be another one tomorrow, August 3.

These serve to explain the changes in the SHIP (co-pays, plan year maximums) as well as explain the state of our Health and Wellness Trust and what changes need to be made.

We also will discuss the ways the administration has mislead and underfunded us, and what we can do about it.

Come join us in the North Village Community Room, H2, for pizza at 7:30pm.

Birth Control Copay Increases

On July 28, we were informed at an informal grievance meeting that birth control copays were going to increase from $10 to $20 along with all other generic prescriptions.  This is troubling news, as it creates an undue and disproportionate burden on female GEO members, who have been guaranteed $10 birth control prescriptions for over a decade under a document referenced by Article 35, Section D of our contract.  This document, Appendix A, is a 1991 memorandum from then Executive Director of University Health Services David Kraft outlining the creation and standardization of a copay schedule for the Student Health Insurance Plan, and it is at the heart of GEO’s grievance over this summer’s unilateral increases in our copays.  Appendix A sets out a range of costs for prescription drugs, and clearly states that birth control pills are “$10.00 per cycle”.

The University informed us yesterday that a provision within the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 that went into effect in 2007 prohibited University Health Services from offering birth control at a rate different from the generic prescription copay, which has been $10.00 for the last several years.  After looking into the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, it is clear that the language in that law defining those organizations which can offer “outpatient drugs at nominal prices” has been updated by the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009 to include “an entity based at an institution of higher learning whose primary purpose is to provide health care services to students of that institution”.  The changes set forth in the 2009 law went into effect retroactively, to January 1, 2007.

All of this means that University Health Services is legally able to keep its obligation to maintain the $10 birth control copay, an obligation we will remind them of as they attempt to use the outdated 2005 law to increase our members’ birth control copay.

Announcement: Automatic Health Insurance Enrollment

If you are concerned about maintaining continuous health coverage through UHS, make sure you have enrolled in classes for next semester.

If you are enrolled in fewer than five credits, are on program fee, need the family plan or are enrolled in classes through Continuing Education, you need to contact UHS Patient Services to enroll.  Tell them if you are GEO-eligible.

Once you have enrolled in classes you will be billed for the insurance, but sign up early to avoid a lapse in coverage.  Also notify UHS if you have signed a GEO contract but your deduction is not taken out of your bill.

UHS Patient Services: (413) 577-5192