Why is there currently no health plan for undergraduate students?
Unfortunately, it is very difficult to find a plan that will work with AU’s unique demographic.
At brick-and-mortar institutions, students are typically automatically opted into the health plan when they sign up for a semester, which is how they can offer low plan rates. However, an automatic opt-in plan will not work for AU.
The majority of AU students (approximately 80%) are part time, so automatically adding a health & dental plan fee of hundreds of dollars to a one-course registration would not be viewed favourably by most members. Further, about 30% of AU students are just visiting from other institutions, only taking 1 course at AU to supplement their studies elsewhere, and they typically have health and dental plans through their home institution. Additionally, our average undergraduate student age is higher than at most brick-and-mortar schools, with approximately 80% of students taking courses while working, so a lot of our members already have health and dental plans through their jobs.
The only other option is to provide an “opt-in” health plan, so students can voluntarily sign up for it. However, opt-in plans would involve very high premiums, upwards of $700-900 per month or more. Plans like this tend to get low enrolment, and typically the only people who enroll make more claims than the cost of their premiums, causing the plan to operate at a loss. Consequently, an opt-in plan is not likely to succeed.
For these reasons, AUSU is currently unable to provide a group health and dental plan that will work for our membership.
However, we do have a “Health Care Bursary” available for students in financial need that otherwise would not be able to afford a health care plan. The bursary can provide up to $1000 towards health or dental plan premiums. You can apply for this online here.