The AMS/GSS Health & Dental Plan was designed by students for students to provide many important services and cover expenses not covered by your basic health care plan, such as prescription drugs, dental care, travel health coverage, vision care, and more. To help you better understand this important service, here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about the Plan.
- Why a Student Health & Dental Plan?
- How is this different from MSP or Medicare?
- Why register for Fair PharmaCare?
- Who is covered?
- How much does the Plan cost?
- What does the Plan cover?
- How do I claim my benefits?
- If I’m covered by the Plan, can I enroll my family?
- What is the Change-of-Coverage Period?
- What if I’m already covered by another Health and Dental Plan?
- What are the Studentcare Networks?
- Can I use this plan when I’m away from UBC?
Why a Student Health & Dental Plan?
A growing number of important health care services aren’t covered in our public medicare system. For many students, paying for these services can lead to financial hardship, while others can’t afford them at all. To help students pay for the health services they need, student health programs have been put in place at many universities across Canada. A student health plan is a collective investment to ensure a minimum standard of health care for a student community.
The AMS/GSS Health & Dental Plan is designed specifically for students to fill the gaps left in your provincial health care. In the fall of 1999, students voted in overwhelming support of implementing a health and dental plan to offer low-cost coverage to all students at UBC. Students’ commitment to providing extended health and dental care coverage to students was reconfirmed in a referendum in the winter of 2001, where over 70 per cent of the students voted in favour of keeping the Plan.
How is this different from MSP or Medicare?
The Canadian model for health care is a mixed public/private system. For individuals aged 18 to 35 in most provinces, approximately 30 to 40 per cent of normal annual health care expenses are covered through our public medicare system. The balance is paid directly by individuals (out-of-pocket expenses) or through private health insurance plans, usually through an employer. These costs can be extremely high and may pose a very real barrier to obtaining necessary health and dental care.
The AMS/GSS Health & Dental Plan does not replace the British Columbia Medical Services Plan (MSP) or an equivalent plan (such as other provincial health care plans or a private basic plan). It offers you extra coverage in addition to basic medical covered by MSP. You must have basic medical coverage in order to be eligible to use the extended coverage provided through the AMS/GSS Plan.
For example, provincial medicare covers the cost of your visit to a general practitioner, but not the cost of prescription drugs. The AMS/GSS Plan provides you with coverage for many medications your physician might prescribe for you, including most oral contraceptives, insulin and diabetic supplies.
Another example: MSP covers basic medical services such as a cast for a broken leg, but not the cost of an ambulance, or medical equipment such as crutches or wheelchair rental, which your AMS/GSS Plan does cover.
The AMS/GSS Plan covers many other services that basic MSP does not, including dental benefits, private tutorial benefits, travel health coverage, and more.
Because the AMS/GSS Plan is an extension of provincial health care, students must have basic health coverage provided through MSP or an equivalent private plan in order to use their Plan.
For more information on the Medical Services Plan for British Columbia, you can visit the B.C. Medical Services Plan website. If you are an international student with questions about B.C. MSP or your equivalent private insurance, please contact International House for more information at 604-822-5021 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
Why register for Fair PharmaCare?
With Fair PharmaCare, students now have access to the second most generous drug coverage in the country!
The B.C. government introduced Fair PharmaCare to replace the PharmaCare program and improve the health status of residents across the province. The new income-based program is designed to provide fair access to coverage for prescription drugs — the lower your income, the more assistance the government will provide toward your eligible drug costs. For example, if your net income from two years ago was less than $15,000, and you have registered for Fair PharmaCare, you will have 70 per cent of your eligible prescription drug costs covered immediately, with no deductible.
All B.C. residents are eligible for Fair PharmaCare and all eligible AMS/GSS Plan members must register for the program.
Five good reasons why you should register for Fair PharmaCare:
- To maximize your overall drug coverage;
- To reduce out-of-pocket costs;
- To help offset costs for the Plan, keeping the fees at a lower rate for all students;
- To have the appropriate deductible assigned to you by Fair PharmaCare (students who do not register will automatically be assigned the highest deductible level);
- To have your claims properly coordinated with your AMS/GSS drug plan.
Who is covered?
All AMS and GSS members who pay AMS fees for the Health & Dental Plan are automatically enrolled, including full-time and part-time students, international students, and those auditing a course. Regent College students enrolled in four credit/audit hours or more and full-time Vancouver School of Theology students are also members of the AMS and are included in the Plan. Co-op students on work term in September or for a full year are now automatically covered by the Plan. Certain exceptions exist. Please check your fee statement or contact ihaveaplan.ca to confirm your coverage.
Third and fourth-year medical students are not automatically enrolled in the Plan, but can enroll during the Change-of-Coverage Period.
How much does the Plan cost?
The total cost of the plan is $214.37 per student, included automatically with University fees each September. The policy year is from Sept. 1, 2011 to Aug. 31, 2012. Students beginning in Jan. 2012 will be assessed $142.91 for coverage from Jan. 1 to Aug. 31, 2012. This works out to about $18/month. If you are covered, the cost of the Plan is part of your student fees.
What does the Plan cover?
For $18/month, the Plan is a comprehensive package of benefits including:
- Root canals;
- Extractions, and more.
- Prescription drugs;
- Travel health coverage;
- Medical equipment, and more.
- Eye exam;
- Laser eye surgery.
Visit http://www.ihaveaplan.ca or the Health & Dental Plan Office (SUB, Lower Level) for coverage details.
How do I claim my benefits?
Students who are automatically enrolled in the Plan are sent a Pay-Direct Card (also available at www.ihaveaplan.ca and at the Health and Dental Plan Office). By presenting the Pay-Direct Card with your valid student ID, you can fill your prescriptions at most Canadian pharmacies. The pharmacist will be able to process the claim immediately, so you won’t have to pay the full amount up front and be reimbursed.
For vision and other health claims (including prescription drugs if you don’t use the Pay Direct Card) you will have to complete and sign a health claim form, attach any necessary receipts and/or documents and mail them to the insurance company (Pacific Blue Cross).
For dental claims, you must complete the claim form with your dentist. It can then be submitted manually on a dental claim form, or electronically by the dentist.
Photocopies of blank claim forms may also be used. Please allow one to two weeks for your claim to be processed.
If I’m covered by the Plan, can I enroll my family?
Yes. The AMS/GSS Health & Dental Plan gives you the option to enroll your family (spouse and/or dependants) by completing an Enrollment Form and paying an additional fee, over and above your fee as a member of the AMS or GSS. Common-law and same-sex couples are eligible.
All enrollments must be completed within the Change-of-Coverage Period. Visit www.ihaveaplan.ca and follow the on-screen instructions for enrollment.
What is the Change-of-Coverage Period?
The Change-of-Coverage Period is the period at the beginning of the semester when you can either opt out or enroll your spouse and/or dependants in the AMS/GSS Health & Dental Plan. If you start school in September, the Change-of-Coverage Period is from Sept. 6-27th 2011. If you’re a new student starting in Jan., the Change-of-Coverage Period is from Jan. 3 to 25, 2012. If you are not automatically enrolled in the Plan, but are eligible to enroll (i.e. third or fourth-year medical students and incoming exchange students) then you may enroll during the Change-of-Coverage Period by completing an enrollment form available online at www.ihaveaplan.ca .
What if I’m already covered by another Health and Dental Plan?
If you’re covered by another plan (i.e. parent or spouse’s employee benefit plan) you can combine this plan with the AMS/GSS Health & Dental Plan to maximize your overall coverage and eliminate out-of-pocket costs. By doing so, you may be able to claim deductibles or co-payments that you would otherwise have to pay.
Alternately, if you wish to opt out of the AMS/GSS Health & Dental Plan, you can do so during the Change-of-Coverage Period and the Plan fee will be reversed from your student account. In order to opt out, you must provide proof of other equivalent health and dental coverage. The B.C. MSP doesn’t provide coverage equivalent to the AMS/GSS Health & Dental Plan therefore you cannot opt out if you’re covered only by MSP. Visit www.ihaveaplan.ca and follow the on-screen instructions for opting out.
What are the Studentcare Networks?
To offer students more comprehensive coverage, www.ihaveaplan.ca has set up networks of health-care professionals. These professionals offer an additional reduction over and above any amount covered by the AMS/GSS Health & Dental Plan. To date, there are dental, vision, physiotherapy, massage therapy, and chiropractic networks. As some practice information may change throughout the year, we recommend you visit www.ihaveaplan.ca for updated lists of network members and a detailed explanation of the reductions they offer.
Can I use this plan when I’m away from UBC?
Yes, all Plan benefits are effective across Canada and anywhere in the world for the duration of the coverage. Reimbursements are in Canadian funds and are calculated at the exchange rate of the day the claim is processed. Reimbursement is limited to what the service would have cost if done in Canada.
The Plan also provides you with travel health coverage. The AMS/GSS Health & Dental Plan will cover you for up to $5,000,000 of emergency health costs for up to 120 days outside of Canada. You can take an unlimited number of trips each year, and you’ll automatically be covered every time. Students who are away on academic trips, such as a recognized academic exchange, may be eligible to have their travel health benefits extended for the duration of the trip and should contact studentcare.net/works for more information.
For more details on the AMS/GSS Health & Dental Plan, visit www.ihaveaplan.ca or the Health & Dental Plan Office.