Cheryl Bosarge 0

Better Health Care for SIUC Students

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SIUC students call for end to inadequate health care!
Give us broader, more affordable, more accessible health care!

 Dear Governor Quinn, State Legislators, and Board of Trustees of Southern Illinois University:
We, the undersigned, request a thorough review of the terms of the medical self-insurance policy of SIUC.  We call on you to give a careful accounting of how this medical plan has been put into place and the impact it has on SIUC students.  A number of alarming problems with the current plan exist and need to be addressed in any Administration response.
The students of Southern Illinois University Carbondale are currently covered under a health provision agreement between the University and local health providers.  This policy offers inadequate coverage for major illness, and represents substandard coverage, which puts undue stress on both students and their family members who become ill or need special treatment.  It also makes the University vulnerable to additional legal and medical costs.  The current plan is insufficient for traditional students and extremely lacking for the ever-increasing number of non-traditional students, including veterans, parents, and older students returning to college to learn new job skills.  Students themselves bear further costs when they delay treatment because of lack of adequate coverage or try to ignore it all together.
· COST: The current out-of-pocket expenses incurred for non-routine treatments, long-term conditions and prescriptions are too high. Students who need extended medical coverage have a  $1,000 deductible.  This cost represents an insurmountable burden for students, who generally have little disposable income.  The SIUC program offers only a partial discount for select prescriptions, placing the burden of the most expensive prescriptions on the student.
· COVERAGE: Under the current plan, spouses and dependents are not eligible for coverage.  This means that if a spouse or child gets sick and the student has no alternative insurance, the cost to treat the loved one is shouldered entirely by the student and family.  There is no option for dependent or spousal coverage under the current program, while our sister University in Edwardsville does offer dependent and spousal coverage, as do most other universities.  Furthermore, students eligible for Medicaid and Medicare must remain in the SIUC program, even if they also pay a co-pay for State services. Students on state aid programs and disability are not able to access those services given the University's refusal to see Medicaid and Medicare as "insurance" programs. This limits the options for health care providers and places financial strain on SIUC families.
· CONSEQUENCES: The current inadequate health care plan negatively affects recruitment, enrollment, retention and academic success at this University. Often, students find it necessary to drop out of school because they find it impossible to make up class when treatment of otherwise preventable illness was delayed until the situation became critical.  When a student's spouse or dependent becomes ill, this places another measure of undue stress on the student, as he or she has to find a way to cover those costs.  As SIUC strives to become a renowned research institution it will need to be competitive with other academic institutions so as to recruit top research and graduate assistants. The current health care insurance plan is not competitive with other universities putting SIUC at a recruiting disadvantage.
We call for an end to the current inadequate health care plan and its replacement by a program that offers more affordable and wider coverage for all students of SIUC.  We recognize what a valuable contract medical coverage for such a large group as all SIUC students would be for indemnity companies.  We believe it is worth considering this option and reviewing the terms of the self-insurance policy of SIUC.  We stand united: graduate students, undergraduate students, and students on leave from the University because of medical concerns.


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