USHIP waiver deadline extension saves students

Director of Student Health Services Dr. Brian Murray announced last week through a letter to the A.S. Council that 8,866 students completed waivers for the Undergraduate Student Health Insurance Plan.

Murray said that the final count is still pending because SHS continued to accept waivers last week under special circumstances. Murray estimates the overall tally will be closer to 8,900 waivers. Murray congratulated the A.S. Council on its effort to extend the deadline.

“”It was great to work with A.S.,”” Murray said. “”I was glad that A.S. gave their opinions and got involved — that was terrific.””

A.S. Commissioner of Student Advocacy Kyle R. Biebesheimer shared Murray’s enthusiasm for the collaboration of the A.S. Council and SHS.

“”I’m glad that we could work together at finding the best way to market the waiver option to the student body,”” Biebesheimer said. “”It was good working with them; it was a good compromise. I really feel optimistic that there will be a lot better working relationship between A.S. and Student Health.””

Murray said that many students might have unknowingly purchased USHIP for fall quarter. He said that the A.S. Council helped prevent this by convincing SHS to extend the waiver deadline and helping SHS to get the word out during the week leading up to the deadline.

“”My best guess is that we probably got an extra 1,000 students to waive with the extension of the deadline,”” Murray said.

Biebesheimer said he is proud of the work the A.S. Council did to alert students of the waiver option.

“”We worked really hard to get the message out, to do the best we could to make sure that all the students who did not want USHIP would not have to pay for it,”” he said.

A.S. President Jeff Dodge said he agreed.

“”I’m extremely pleased about it,”” Dodge said. “”We pulled together well and pooled our resources and really worked to get the word out.””

The extra 1,000 students who waived USHIP saved a combined $163,000 — a figure that Dodge said he is very happy with.

“”That’s an astonishing number — definitely something that A.S. is proud of,”” Dodge said.

Biebesheimer also congratulated SHS for extending the deadline while it was faced with bills from the insurance company providing USHIP.

“”I tip my hat to Dr. Murray for getting the deadline extended,”” he said.

Murray is forming a Student Health Insurance Advisory Committee on which students will sit, including Biebesheimer, who has offered to serve as the A.S. representative on the committee.

Murray and Biebesheimer are hopeful that the committee will come up with better ideas for how to get the word out about USHIP for winter and spring quarters, as well as in the years to come.

“”A.S. is aware of the problem and we will be able to have a closer hand in that in the next two quarters and next year hopefully,”” Biebesheimer said. “”We need to work together [with SHS] to find solutions that are feasible.””

Dodge said that future cooperation between the A.S. Council and SHS is needed.

“”They were very administratively responsive to A.S. and to students,”” Dodge said. “”I still feel that we need to have some discussion with them to continue developing how we’re going to go about advertising USHIP and the waiver in the future.””

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