UCOP Plans Fixes to Address SHIP Debt

Changes to the plan include a student coverage extension to all UC Medical Centers

UCSD Student Health Insurance Plan representatives are formulating a new structure to the program in order to manage a $61 million deficit and provide sustainability for the future.

According to Undergraduate SHIP Representative Stephanie Bailey, the deficit is due to negligence. However, it was unanimously decided that students are not responsible and will not see any changes in their health plans to pay for this deficit.

“Firstly, we had a different actuarial manager, Aon Hewitt,” Bailey said. “In the case of UCSD in particular, they set the premiums way too low. Someone at [the Office of the President] was responsible for overseeing the plan and they didn’t do their job.”

UC Office of the President will take responsibility for the debt and is currently suing Aon Hewitt. However, in the future, any debt incurred will be the responsibility of the students by individual campuses.

The new SHIP changes include enacting an executive oversight board, creating reserves and a three-tier design plan with the UC Medical Centers. This means that students using SHIP will receive a discounted rate at UC Medical Centers. UCSD has already had this type of plan with the UCSD Medical Centers; however, now any UC Medical Center will be available discounted to students with SHIP, including at campuses that are not a part of SHIP.

“We have a really wonderful relationship with our medical center, and we have been a model at the SHIP board,” Bailey said.

While SHIP rates will not increase due to the deficit, students should still expect to see increasing rates simply due to the current 9 percent to 15 percent inflation rates for healthcare.

Bailey refers to designing a plan “a balancing act” of whether to increase the price of premiums or out-of-pocket costs. While no decisions have been made, Bailey reports that students have expressed a preference for higher premiums because financial aid can cover that cost.

“The overarching goal of SHIP is to be sustainable. If we can’t do that, there’s really no point in continuing it; no one is making a profit off of SHIP,” Bailey said. “The past is the past, and so far this year, SHIP is doing well, and hopefully it continues to [do well]. Currently, no one needs to save SHIP because it’s saving itself.”

The finalized healthcare plan for the 2014–15 school year is due the beginning of March.