By Leanne Vastbinder, Opinion and Online Editor
Members of SGA passed a resolution recommending against the renewal of the Student Accident Shield Insurance at their last meeting.
Now, each student pays $50 a year in student fees for the insurance. The decision by SGA will recommend to Newman’s executive cabinet that the university stop paying for the SASI and instead put the money toward another more comprehensive healthcare option for students, such as telemedicine service or an on-campus nurse.
The insurance and $50 student fee increase was initially approved by the 2016-2017 SGA, before then going to a student body vote in the fall of 2017. Prior to this, a decision had already been made to have student athletes cover the whole cost of the insurance for one year. The results of the 2017 election were repealed after SGA determined coaches were telling athletes to vote in favor of it, so another student body vote was held in the spring of 2018, and the insurance was approved.
Senator Madeleine Dellinger headed the SGA ad hoc committee that investigated the insurance.
She said she and SGA Treasurer Courtney Klaus drafted the insurance and student fee recommendation. Dellinger said the decision to recommend against renewing SASI came after analyzing how often the insurance was used by the student body.
“For the year 2019, the student body paid a total of $46,596 in student fees towards SASI and during that entire year, only six students filed an accident claim,” Dellinger said.
This discovery, Dellinger said, along with a change in circumstances that no longer obligated student athletes to pay for the insurance regardless, caused members of SGA to reach out to students and gather feedback on what they thought of the insurance plan in place.
“When talking to students, many were unaware of the insurance. Others didn’t like the idea of paying for service that is not beneficial to them. Some were unsure how to file a claim or didn’t feel comfortable approaching athletics to receive help with a claim,” she said.
After talking with students, Dellinger said, SGA executives and members of the insurance committee began researching other possible alternatives to provide students with better healthcare options.
“Later in the semester, we were informed that the cabinet had been approached by teledoc services and have been looking for a way to better provide a more comprehensive healthcare option to students. Based on research, communications with university officials and students, and cost analysis, a resolution was drafted by myself and Treasurer Klaus recommending against the renewal of SASI instead supporting a reallocation of that student fee money towards a more comprehensive healthcare option,” Dellinger said.
The final recommendation was not passed unanimously but will be forwarded for approval by Newman’s cabinet.
The final resolution asks that the student fees going toward SASI be reallocated toward other options.
“SGA respectfully asks the cabinet to consider other comprehensive healthcare options that would better serve the student body as a whole, such as through a comprehensive telehealth service or a full-time medical professional on campus,” the resolution says.
Courtesy Photo, Newman SGA