Throughout the 2004/2005 and the 2005/2006 academic years, the Students' Union was approached by many students who wanted a system of extended health and dental benefits similar to the plans offered at other universities across Canada. Following an investigation of the costs involved and a survey that showed a majority of support from the student body, the Students' Union held a referendum for students to make a decision on whether a system of health and dental benefits would be adopted.
On April 3, 4 and 5, 2007 members of the Vancouver Island University Students' Union voted to create a fee for a comprehensive health and dental benefit plan for all full-time students on the Nanaimo Campus. The plan is mandatory unless students have extended health and dental insurance from another source (i.e. through their parents, work, or spouse's insurance), in which case they may choose to opt-out from the Students' Union plan, or remain enrolled in both their previous plan and the Students' Union Plan (see "Coordination Of Benefits under the List of Benefits menu item").
While the mandatory nature of the plan is less than ideal, it is common to Student Union plans across the country. This results in a very low cost for extended health and dental coverage that could not be offered if the plan was optional. In addition, because of the plan being mandatory, pre-exisitng health conditions are eligible for coverage.
Who Is Covered?
The following groups of students are covered by the Health and Dental Benefit Plan:
Trades or vocational students in programs 215 days or longer.
University (Academic) Students who are taking nine (9) or more credits per semester are enrolled in the plan (waitlisted courses are included in this calculation).
Full-time students in graduate programs.
The Health and Dental Benefit Plan only extends to students who are taking the majority of their courses on the Nanaimo campus.
When Does Coverage Begin?
Students enrolling in September
If you are enrolled in September your coverage begins September 1 and coverage continues for a one-year term. After the completion of the opt-out period, changes to your student status will not affect your status in the Health and Dental Benefit Plan.
Students Enrolling in Months Other Than September
If you are enrolled in courses that start other than September, your coverage begins on the first day of the month that you begin courses. After the completion of the opt-out period, changes to your student status will not affect your status in the Health and Dental Benefit Plan.
The black-out period begins on the first day of coverage (September 1st for most students) and is generally around 45 days in duration. During this period the Students' Union is in the process of updating the enrollment list with opt-outs and additions. The updated enrollment list is sent to Green Shield to be uploaded onto their database after the end of the opt-out period. Once the list of members has been uploaded, active coverage begins.
Any health or dental costs that are incurred during the blackout period will not be eligible for the direct billing option and members are advised to save all receipts for covered costs. After the end of the black out period you will be able to mail in your expense receipts to Green Shield. Green Shield will then mail you a reimbursement cheque for all of the costs that are covered under the plan.
Please visit greenshields helpful website to print out your health and dental reimbursement forms, or visit the Vancouver Island University Students' Union office to get preprinted copies of the claim forms. The Vancouver Island University Students' Union office is located in the Students' Union Building #193.