With the help of the Graduate SGA Executive Cabinet, Stamps Health Services has made the decision to cancel its current arrangement with health care provider Pearce and Pearce Insurance.
The decision comes as a result of problems for current students caused by the present health care policy. A new insurance policy that will be customized according to the needs of individual Tech students is currently in development.
The Graduate Executive Cabinet discussed the issue of health insurance when it presented its 2011 White Paper on March 31.
“From my position, I hear all the complaints from graduate and some undergraduate students. When changes need to be made, we send a request to the BOR and they send a request to Pearce and Pearce and eventually it may or may not come back to us,” said Brandon Polander, graduate vice-president of Health Services.
While Tech has a fee that sustains the Health Center and pays health care costs, many institutions sustain their health centers with student insurance plans. Students at Tech are required to pay higher premiums, and as a result Tech is trying to achieve lower interest rates by separating from the current insurance plan. This will result in greater control over the insurance policy.
Tech has already followed this particular formula before.
“This is something we’ve done in the past. Before Pearce and Pearce Insurance, [Tech] had an insurance plan outside the BoR consortium. We’ve got someone on board, [Provost & Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs] Carol Moore, who has been involved in this process many times,” Polander said.
While the potential impact is still unknown, the intention of the switch away from Pearce and Pearce is to reduce the premium and increase benefits.
Each graduate student on the committee will have a vote in choosing the benefits package. The Executive Board has gained input from a number of students around campus to select the most cost-effective and most beneficial option.
This summer, the Graduate Executive Board will write the Request for Proposal (RFP), the official statement of services required from vendors. The Director of Stamps Health Services will administer the RFP, and so the Health Center will continue to be involved in the entire process of restructuring along with the members of the graduate committee.
“Everyone involved in this decision has some history with health insurance. We have the okay from the Board of Regents, and President Peterson has officially announced our desire to separate from the BoR,” said Polander.
The University of Georgia (UGA) has also recently made the same decision. However, unlike Tech, UGA has not elected to involve its own health center in its RFP.