Wednesday September 03, 2014

TRU medical insurance glitch resolved

Students told their insurance plans were inactive

Untold numbers of Thompson Rivers University students were left baffled and alarmed last term when they sought reimbursement for medical costs only to be told their insurance plans were inactive.

The issues arose out of a technical glitch that occurred when TRU’s student union changed the system to integrate with students’ myTRU accounts.

Union president Dustin McIntyre says the issues have now been resolved and staff have worked through individual cases to make sure students were reimbursed retroactively to September.

The union automatically enrols full-time students into the Green Shield coverage for $248 per calendar year, which covers such things as prescriptions, dentist appointments, physiotherapy and vision care.

“Extended heath and dental coverage not only gives you peace of mind, but also helps you maintain a high quality of health and ensures that medical emergencies do not endanger your studies,” states the TRUSU website.

A comparable private health-and-dental plan would cost upwards of $2,500, according to the union, so the offer is generally viewed as a great deal for the typical low-income student. That’s if it works.

TRU student Sarah Michaud was among those refused coverage last year even though she paid her fees on time at the beginning of the year.

She said she discovered the broader problem through a pharmacist at Superstore.

“She informed me that she saw this happen daily to students. After I spoke to several other classmates I became aware that this was a common problem,” said Michaud when she contacted the Daily News in December.

Michaud’s concern only increased when she was unable to get answers, and then she came to her own conclusions.

“After trying to contact the university about this for several weeks and receiving no answer, I feel that this is an intentional ploy to save money,” she said.

She said she would be contacting Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Terry Lake.

But her complaint may be moot now that the issues have been resolved, according to McIntyre.

“We encourage anyone with any problems to contact us and we’ll work as hard as we can to resolve the issues,” he said.

Michaud could not be reached to determine whether her issues were dealt with.

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