Proposed Changes to Georgia Tech Health Insurance

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Proposed Changes to Georgia Tech Health Insurance

Good Afternoon Fellow Grad Yellow Jackets, 

I write to you today to inform you of the proposed changes by the University System of Georgia to the Georgia Tech student health insurance plan (SHIP) which over 4000 of us grad students are a part of. The USG is considering a proposal that could increase our student health insurance costs by as much as 30% ($660/ year), reduces insurance benefits, and take the embedded dental and vision coverage out of the mandatory plan. This is being done at no benefit to Georgia Tech students, but to reduce the insurance costs for students at other institutions within the USG, by combining the Georgia Tech SHIP with the USG SHIP. If implemented, this plan severely threatens the healthcare finances of over 6500 Georgia Tech students and their dependents for the foreseeable future. As your graduate student body president, I have been fiercely advocating against these changes at the university system level. The institute leadership is also advocating on behalf of all Tech students. The proposal is set to be reviewed by the USG leadership as early as the week of March 8th. 

How can you make your voices heard? 

  1.  Sign this formal petition by Sunday March 7th – directed towards USG Chancellor Wrigley and the Board of Regents: This time the USG leadership needs to hear directly from every single one of us who will be affected by these changes. You can do this by signing this formal petition put together on behalf of our graduate student body by Graduate SGA. 
  2.  Email the USG chancellor and call the Board of Regents by tomorrow or first thing Monday, March 8th: A petition alone may not be enough to convince the USG otherwise. That is why I encourage you to express your concerns directly to the USG Chancellor or any member of the Board of Regents. Here is an email/call-template for graduate students and contact list to use if you need.  
  3. Spread the word: Tell your GT friends, colleagues, lab mates, and faculty advisors to sign on to the petition and raise the concerns with their bosses or use this generic call script to advocate on your behalf.

Where can I find more information about the proposed increases? 

Currently, the Georgia Tech SHIP is external to the USG SHIP provided to all institutions, specifically negotiated through the advocacy of Graduate Students and the support of GT administration for the campus to reduce costs and increase services. Although this plan has been approved by the USG for many years, the USG is proposing to dissolve the independent Georgia Tech SHIP and consolidate to a single plan available for all institutions in the 2021-2022 year.  

The concerns regarding these proposals are wide, but here are some primary points: 

  • all unified plans remove Georgia Tech’s included dental and vision coverage and replace it with an optional USG dental plan that costs $360 per year
  • all proposed options increase Georgia Tech premiums, deductibles, and out-of-pocket maximums for this overall lower service coverage.
  • worst-case proposals include increases of $224 to the Premium, $250 to Deductible, and $2600 to Out-of-Pocket Maximum

Other repercussions regarding the impacts on the on-campus health centers such as Stamps, DePoe, and Tech Dentistry are possible, but Grad SGA and the Georgia Tech administration have been advocating fervently to the USG stakeholders for Georgia Tech to remain on its own plan. We fear these changes could result in the closure or reduced services at these on-campus providers. 

The Grad SGA Graduate Student Senate (GSS) passed a resolution on March 2nd in opposition to the proposed SHIP consolidation, which can be seen here, to ensure that the USG understands the magnitude of the impact of changes on Georgia Tech Graduate Students. 

Please know that your access to affordable healthcare and financial well-being are top priorities of ours, so I want to thank you for your time and consideration. 

In Progress and Service, 

Lea Harris 

Graduate Student Body President