UF health insurance in spotlight

Published: Wednesday, March 1, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 1, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
Health insurance for University of Florida students could improve through less student control after a vote by the Student Senate Tuesday.
The current insurance offered to students isn't enough, said Sen. Mike Bowen, author of the bill, because the student-dominated Insurance Board doesn't have the expertise to negotiate good deals with insurance companies.
The Senate voted to correct that imbalance by adding two faculty members and increased guidance from UF's vice president of Human Resources to the board.
Many undergraduate students still qualify for their parents' insurance, but most graduate students rely on the insurance offered to UF students, which now does not meet their medical needs, Bowen said last week.
The current plan has a limit of $600 a year for prescription drugs, which doesn't provide sufficient aid for students with diabetes, epilepsy or other long-term illnesses, he said.
Lauren Davis, an astronomy graduate student, told the Senate last week that the student health insurance would not cover the cost of her asthma medicine and epilepsy medicine, which together cost more than $4,000 a year.
She must depend on her parents to cover the cost, she said, "and at age 25, that sucks. I should be independent now."
She knows other graduate students who work at Starbucks solely for the company's comprehensive insurance, she said, even when their advisers complain that their graduate work is suffering.
Student health insurance "would be much safer in the hands of professionals instead of student volunteers," she said.
In other news, Sen. Robert Agrusa accused UF of violating "fair and just procedures" when UF's Transportation and Parking Advisory Committee voted on parking restrictions without having majority of members present.
Of the 19 members on the committee, only seven were present when the committee voted to change parking hours and exclude undergraduates from the commuter parking lot, Agrusa said.
The Senate voted Tuesday to condemn the committee's recommendation of extending all parking decal restrictions to last until 5:30 p.m.
The extension would benefit faculty members who return to campus in the afternoon and have difficulty finding a space, but it would inconvenience students who are used to being able to park anywhere after 3:30 p.m., Agrusa said.
If adopted by UF, the recommendation would increase traffic congestion at rush hour, Sen. Billy Holcombe said.
Furthermore, parking spaces are already scarce on the UF campus, Agrusa said. As of December 2005, UF had sold around 37,000 parking decals, but the campus only has 20,000 spaces.

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

Comments are currently unavailable on this article

▲ Return to Top