A dental clinic slated to set up shop in Lower Place Riel in December could balloon the cost of the undergraduate dental plan, says a representative from the students’ union’s insurance provider.
“There is a risk that costs will increase because there will be an increased amount of service,” said Amanda Smytaniuk, prairies manager for Student Care, the health and dental plan broker that provides insurance to dozens of students’ unions nationwide.
“We have had instances where dental offices have opened on campuses and there has been a substantial increase to the premium.”
The University of Waterloo’s students’ union was caught off-guard last year when a dentist opened up on campus and the cost of their insurance shot up.
Smytaniuk told the University of Saskatchewan students’ council to expect a fee hike once Campus Dentist, a dental clinic chain tailored to post-secondary students, opens its doors in January. She said the prime location of the clinic will result in more students taking advantage of the plan, which in turn will spike the overhead cost.
U of S undergraduates paid $136.85 for health coverage and $101.57 for dental coverage this year. All undergraduates enrolled in at least three courses in the fall semester are automatically covered through the students’ union.
Roughly 42 per cent of the 14,094 students eligible for full coverage opted out.
The dental plan provides up to 70 per cent coverage on cleanings, checkups, fillings, wisdom teeth removal, gum treatments and root canals. Major restorative work — crowns, bridges and posts — are not covered.
Steven Heidel, vice-president operations and finance for the U of S students’ union, was warned when deciding to lease space to Campus Dentist that having a clinic on campus would increase the number of claims and raise the cost of the plan.
Ultimately, the increase wasn’t a deal breaker.
Heidel said the Campus Dentist franchise was chosen to move into the empty bay in Lower Place Riel because it’s a member of the Student Care dental network.
Members of the network provide an additional 20 per cent coverage on checkups and cleanings to U of S students. In Saskatoon, 19 dental clinics are registered members and provide a discount.
“When claims go up, the price of our plan goes up. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You should be going to the dentist yearly. You should be getting your annual check-ups,” Heidel said.
“It’s not really about how much the price jumps, it’s more about the fact that students are using the services that we want them to be using in terms of maintaining their health.”