Volume 96, Issue 79
Wednesday, February 19, 2003

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Time to vote down dental plan

To the Editor:

Western students should vote "No" in the University Students' Council's Dental Plan Referendum. Why?

The USC has not demonstrated a need for the proposed plan. Most university students are at a low risk to develop dental problems, have predictable dental needs, and could just as easily plan for the cost of this care as they could for dental plan premiums.

The USC's flyers suggest that the average student spends over $500 on check-ups, cleanings, fillings and wisdom tooth extractions every single year – give me a break! The flyer also neglects the cost of the annual premium ($116) when tallying the costs of covered care.

In addition, the USC has not demonstrated that dental care is inaccessible. In the event of an unexpected expense, dentists can arrange a payment plan for you. Students can also contact local social service agencies concerning government-funded dental care, the London District Dental Society for details on local programs or the UWO Dental School, which already provides substantial subsidies to students and their families on all treatment.

Lastly, the proposed plan does little to defray the costs of major treatment. When faced with expensive treatment, such as root canals, orthodontics or crowns, the "benefit" ranges from 0-10 per cent, and only up to an annual total of $500. Those who really need coverage will find this inadequate.

Buying into this plan is like buying auto insurance that will cover an oil-change, a tune-up and the occasional spark plug. Informed voters should also ask if specialist care is covered, what fee schedule is used, what time is required for reimbursement and who controls treatment decisions.

Had the USC consulted the UWO Dental School and/or the UWO Dental Students' Society prior to recommending this plan, a better strategy could have been put forward. But, as the referendum question reads now, it is in the best interest of every student to vote NO.

Alexander Hird
Dentistry IV
President UWO Dental Students' Society

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2002 THE GAZETTE