Waiver deadline extended a week

The deadline to waive the Undergraduate Student Health Insurance Plan has been moved to Oct. 5, Student Health Services officials announced Sept. 25.

Complaints from the A.S. Council that SHS did not adequately inform students about USHIP prompted the change.

The UC Regents passed USHIP almost unanimously in September 2000 after nearly five years of planning. Part of that decision included mandatory health insurance.

A.S. Councilmembers fear that USHIP and its $163 per quarter fee were not given enough publicity. The council is concerned that students will end up paying for health coverage that they do not need.

Commissioner of Student Advocacy Kyle Biebesheimer is worried that many students at UCSD may not have realized that their accounts were billed for health coverage because the program’s publicity was kept to a minimum.

“”They’ve done a lot of little things, but if you’re going to make a change as important and significant as that, you must publicize it,”” Biebesheimer said.

SHS Director of Administrative Services Suzette Tsiknas said that enough has done enough to inform students about the introduction of USHIP this fall. SHS ran advertisements in the Guardian, posted information on Studentlink and sent an information sheet with undergraduates’ billing statements.

“”We don’t want to be opposed to A.S., and we’ve done everything we can to get the word out to students,”” Tsiknas said.

SHS is also co-sponsoring an information booth with the A.S. External on Library Walk.

Biebesheimer argues that the half-page flier, mailed in August, did not adequately publicize USHIP. He said that the administration should have written a formal letter introducing USHIP and explaining ways to waive the fee or to purchase the school’s policy.

Tsiknas said that a formal letter will not be sent because the administration thinks it would be ineffective and costly.

“”People move around so often, it’s difficult to know which address to send the letter to,”” Tsiknas said. “”Also, I don’t think that they would read that any more than they read anything else.””

About 6,100 students had waived USHIP as of Sept. 25. SHS officials do not know if it is because a lot of people need adequate health insurance or if they were unaware of the approaching deadline.

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