Volume 93, Issue 37

Thursday, November 4, 1999


Editorial Board 1999-2000

Pay your way

Editorial Cartoon

Pay your way

Less is more. At least, this is what a new administrative measure initiated by the University Students' Council is supposed to make students think.

Students who chose to opt-out of the health plan this year received a check from which an extra $3.60 was deducted. The reduction is to cover administrative costs incurred by the heath plan – for instance, creating databases and issuing cheques.

Previously, students who did not opt-out of the health plan were left to pay for these services. However, after a review of the plan, the USC decided it wasn't fair to leave only these students with the burden of a cost which is a product of processing all students through the system. They decided to charge an administrative fee to every student.

Did they accomplish what they set out to do? Can it be said that this situation is more fair than that of previous years? The answer, rather obviously, is no.

While processing the amount of students who opt-out is costly, the fact is the expense still falls under the umbrella of what is necessary to run the health plan. However, those who are using the health plan should be the ones who pay for it – not just their share of coverage, but their share of what makes the entire plan possible.

The USC could argue that opting out is a privilege, as theoretically the health plan could simply be made a mandatory part of student fees, as is the case with other programs such as Campus Recreation. However, just because the students maintain an option of choice in this scenario doesn't mean they should surrender any kind of "fee" the USC sees fit to slap onto a procedure.

There was nothing unfair about the situation in the way it previously stood. Students who used the health plan paid for it's maintenance. Why is it more fair to have students who opt-out pay for a service they have no use for?

If it was stated that a $6 administrative fee was going to accompany the cost of the health plan, there would be no complaints. But because the situation was comparative in nature – the "opt-outs" versus the "stay-ins" – it was mistaken as an inequity and seen as unfair.

If the USC was serious about their disdain over the old system, other methods of resolving the issue could have been investigated. Perhaps a look at streamlining the entire process of opting out, making it proactive instead of retroactive, could cut some corners and avoid some unnecessary costs.

This is not to infer the USC was too lazy to pursue such options, the issue at hand is simply not that big a problem. The fee is necessary for running a service which student's have the ability to opt-out of. Those using the service should pay for it. Instead, the USC has taken what they saw as an unfairness to some and made it an unfairness to all.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999