University can be a stressful time, especially if you have extra financial costs dragging you down. Whether you’re an athlete or not, getting injured as a student can wreak havoc on your well-being and your grades.
You already have a full schedule, and constantly going to physiotherapy appointments to try to get yourself back to work has made you twice as busy. Add insufficient insurance coverage through the Health and Dental Plan on top of it, and you’re in for a shitty term.
The current University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union coverage only covers a maximum of $20 per visit for physiotherapy — and this is absolute shit.
The plan will cover for up to $400 per policy year, but if you need to go to a specialized physiotherapist who isn’t covered under the health plan’s physiotherapy network, it can cost $80 per visit with only $20 being covered by the plan.
With only a fraction of the cost covered, you would have to pay a whopping $1200 per year to use up the $400 in coverage if you are going to a specialized physiotherapist. But not everyone is going to need 20 sessions, so let’s say you were to go to a specialist for five sessions. You would need to pay $300 out of pocket with the plan only covering $100 of your costs.
If you’re a busy student either who doesn’t have time to work or whose money from work all goes straight to paying your bills, where are you supposed to pull this $300 from? The couch cushions? Hey, maybe there will actually be a few things in those cushions since you got the couch on Kijiji for $20. Wouldn’t that be the best $20 couch you ever bought?
Although all physiotherapists have some training in concussions, there are only two physiotherapy clinics in Saskatoon registered as Complete Concussion Management Clinics. The therapists working in these clinics have specific training in managing and dealing with concussions. Great, right? Well, no, since neither of these clinics are covered by the USSU Studentcare physiotherapy network.
The USSU promotes this network as a way for students to get “additional savings,” but this prevents students from receiving the specialized care that they may require for their injuries. Not only are the lists provided by the Studentcare network not up to date or accurate but many of the clinics offering this discounted rate do not offer direct billing.
So as a poor university student with limited financial resources, I am expected to cough up the money for these services upfront so that I can function in my daily life and then hope that the USSU coverage will reimburse me for the costs in a timely manner.
Plans for 2019-2020 involve increasing the coverage per visit to $40 and the annual coverage to $500 per policy year. So instead of paying $60 per visit out of pocket, you’d be paying $40. If your physio appointment costs $80, you’ll be paying $500 per year to get $500 out of your healthcoverage plan.
While this proposed plan is tremendously better than the current plan, it will still leave students with significant financial strain. Is there not a better way for this insurance to be structured? Why not just allow students the maximum amount per year to use for physio however they need it?
Oh no, because if we did this, then more students would actually reach the cap of their insurance. This would mean an increase in premiums and all of that bureaucratic bullshit. Shouldn’t we be concerned about how well students are actually doing?
If students were actually the priority, they would actually be able to take care of themselves and let their injuries heal. Can you imagine what a flawed system it would be if we didn’t have to worry about how the premiums would be affected? It appears that the number-one concern is that students might actually use their coverage not what’s in the best interests of the students who need that coverage.
Graphic: Shawna Langer