Over half of GBC students ineligible for OHIP Plus: health plan provider

New Ontario health plan gives free access to over 4,400 medications for residents under 25

According to the ACL Student Benefits (ACL), the Student Association’s (SA) health plan provider, more than half of George Brown College (GBC) students are ineligible for Ontario’s new OHIP Plus coverage.

The SA funds The Dialog.

The province’s new health program, which was launched on Jan. 1, provides over 4,400 prescription drugs to Ontario residents 24 years-old and under for free. However, ACL, also called We Speak Student, reported to the SA board that out of 18,925 GBC students, 51 per cent, are not covered under the new provincial plan.

Of the over 9,600 students, that ACL said were excluded from OHIP Plus, 5,280 are 25 or turning 25, while 4,377 are international students.

Using drug data from January through October of last year, ACL reported that 77 per cent of all drug claims at GBC will remain covered by the student’s private insurance while 23 per cent will be taken care of by OHIP Plus.

For SA director of campus life Mercedes Burrowes, the number of GBC students that accessed health through the plan, over $3.3 million in claims last year according to ACL, is a point of pride.
 
“It feels really awesome that we can provide a program that is affordable to students, especially 19,000 of the students and their families as well,” she said. “A healthy campus means students have a better education and at least it makes these few years less difficult for them, financially and, hopefully, health-wise.”

One key question that remains is how the government’s new program might impact health insurance premiums at universities and colleges such as GBC.Whether that might mean reduced costs, a spokesperson from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care stated in an email, “the minister has said many times that he we would hope and expect that any savings to insurers would be passed along to individuals and families.”

The Dialog reached out to ACL, but requests for an interview were not returned by press time.For the September 2017 to August 2018 period, the health insurance cost to domestic students was $206.53 while for international students, the charge was $603.34 ($203.34 Extended Health and Dental Plan or domestic plan + $400 OHIP replacement).

As of the end of January of this year, the Ontario government said that over 522,000 people under 25 had accessed the free prescription medications.

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Over half of GBC students ineligible for OHIP Plus: health plan provider