Student groups unite to get better coverage
By Sabrina Carinci
Western has recently become the member of a three-part association to help make student health benefits bigger and brighter.
Western has joined together with Acadia University in Nova Scotia and Memorial University in Newfoundland to create The Campus Trust, an association which will help improve the insurance buying power of each of the universities involved.
The Campus Trust, insured by Aetna Life Insurance Company of Canada, is run by a board of directors, composed of representatives from the three student councils.
Dave Small, VP-finance of the University Student's Council and student trustee of The Campus Trust said one of the major advantages of the trust includes the amount of money which the university will save on insurance claims. "Money is not being lost to insurance companies, it's being held in the trust."
"You won't see a difference this year, you'll see more of a difference next year," said Jim Walden, general manager of the USC and chair of The Campus Trust.
Walden explained because the trust will reinvest its own money, the benefits will compound and future students will benefit from the trust more than present students. "Although there is no disadvantage to students now," Walden said.
This structure will allow for economy of scale by bringing the three entities together. "This will allow the universities to save on administration costs," said Craig Kennedy, general manager of the student's union at Acadia.
According to Kennedy, the trust will also create a formal structure which will allow both beneficiaries and student leaders greater accountability and protection as well as a greater flexibility with regards to the manner in which health plans are designed and what they provide.
As more universities choose to join the trust, premiums will most likely decrease and will allow universities to choose between either lowering benefit costs or adding more coverage to the health plans.
With these positive aspects Small said he believes The Campus Trust may become the largest trust of its kind in Canada.
The trust will be subject to an audit every year and is bound by law to comply with specific rules, Walden said.