Grad students to get cheaper health insurance

This fall, many graduate students can get health insurance from the U for the first time, thereby saving money and avoiding graduate unions, said David Chapman, dean of the Graduate School.

A policy provided by Student Health Services costs students $1,000 and has a maximum benefit of $50,000.

Funding has been made available this year for the U or departments to pay 80 percent of that cost-allowing students coverage for $200 to $250 a year.

The policy will only be available for the approximately 1,100 graduate students on campus.

Some departments will cover the costs for graduate assistants and graduate fellows, making the program available to about 200 more people, Chapman said.

“I think this is great,” said Moses Yang, a research assistant in the department of bioengineering.

Yang currently pays $50 a month with a $400 deductible for insurance.

“If I see a physician, I have to pay out of pocket,” he said.

Chapman said a graduate insurance program was one of his main goals when he became dean of the school in 1998.

“Catastrophic costs for students for accidents or sickness should not prevent students from completing their goal of getting a graduate degree,” he said.

The program is also important to maintain the U’s competitive edge in attracting graduate students to the campus, he said.

Many other U.S. colleges and universities are offering similar programs.

Other schools, including Columbia University, have graduate student unions to advocate for better services.

Columbia’s Graduate Student Employees United Union is currently campaigning for more health coverage, a more reasonable visa policy for international students and to protect federal grants given to environmental science researchers.

The details of the program, like exact costs and coverage benefits, are yet to be finalized, but general questions can be answered by visiting the Student Health Services’ Web site at www.studenthealth.utah.edu/index.html, or by going to 555 Foothill Blvd. Madsen Health Center, Level 1 to speak to service representatives.

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