A sudden demand by the provider of the dental half of the Students' Union Health and Dental Plan for a sudden fee levy has sparked the SU into a brand new partnership, as well as fast-tracking construction of a new MacEwan Student Centre dental office.
According to SU Vice-President Operations and Finance Joel Lockwood, the provider of the now defunct dental plan, Manulife, approached the SU in July about a fee increase claiming it was no longer viable for them to continue to provide services at the current $90 price students are paying each year.
A fee increase would have to go to a student-wide referendum, a move the SU was unwilling to make.
"The last thing we want is a price increase right now," said Lockwood. "If it were to be raised, it would have to be raised a significant amount as part of a multi-year deal rather than small rises in multiple referendums."
The new plan, which includes a brand-new list of dental service providers, has the same range of services as the old plan at the current price, and avoids the referendum process. The list of four dentists will be supplanted by a fifth coming soon, plus a new dental office in MSC adjacent to U of C Health Services is coming in 2006.
"It is a very strong dental plan, and we are quite proud that we have one of the best student health and dental plans in the country, and one of the best priced," said Lockwood.