Speaker discusses insurance disparities
Grad students consider changes in A&M health care
Published: Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 00:10
On the same day enrollment opened for the Healthcare Insurance Exchange, the Graduate Student Council (GSC) meeting hosted a guest speaker to address the topic of University healthcare changes.
Amanda Rutherford, GSC executive vice president and political science graduate student, said the GSC invited speaker Kevin McGinnis, director of the Risk Management and Benefits Administration at Texas A&M, to the meeting to explain how insurance coverage for graduate student employees will change in the face of the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, also known as ‘Obamacare’.
“We had Mr. Kevin McGinnis come speak at our meeting last semester, however with the recent changes we asked him to come back and explain those,” Rutherford said.
McGinnis said last year the graduate student employee plan, international student plan and domestic student plan were combined into one plan for two reasons.
“We are trying to get all you young people to participate,” McGinnis said. “The second [reason] is we had to bring all our plans to be compliant with the Affordable Care Act, and so we had to decrease our coverage dramatically for the domestic student, international student and the graduate student employee.”
McGinnis said this would only really negatively effect international students.
“Graduate student employees premiums didn’t go up any — they stayed the same,” McGinnis said. “Everybody else came up dramatically which increased the price for them also. The premium came down for [graduate student employees]. The international premium went up, and the domestic student premium stayed about the same.”
McGinnis said contributions from the state of Texas helped keep the premiums of domestic and graduate student employees level, but these did not apply to international students, resulting in increased premiums. He said deductibles increased by about $200 and that some benefits were lost on the new plan.
After the discussion of insurance, the GSC passed a bill requesting transportation services and student scheduling services look into the practicality of pushing 5 p.m. graduate student classes back to 5:30 p.m. The bill was passed with votes 37 in favor, 4 against, and 3 abstentions.
Kevin Andrews, bill author and agricultural leadership, education and communications graduate student, said the next step would be to implement the bill on campus.
“The next step now is for the GSC officers to get together and to look at how others are affected,” Andrews said. “We would hope to put this into effect by fall semester of 2014.”
Other topics discussed at the meeting included how graduate students can get their Aggie Ring, new programs implemented for graduate students and sentiments towards the new Student Senate bill requesting the implementation of the U.S. flag and the pledge of allegiances in the first class period every day.