Grad students gain new dental plan

By Christie S. Peterson

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Beginning May 1, UA graduate students will be able to receive benefits from a dental insurance plan recently made available through the Graduate and Professional Student Council.

Because most are too old to remain on their parents' coverage and are employed as teaching assistants that do not receive health benefits, many graduate students have found themselves without dental insurance.

To fill this need, the GPSC has joined Employers Dental Services, which provides services to members who pay a group-rate fee to see member dentists and receive approved procedures free or discounted.

EDS is used by many businesses in the area to cover their permanent employees, but the only requirement to be eligible for the GPSC benefit group is to be a University of Arizona graduate, medical, or law student.

"There is a massive desire among the student body (for dental coverage) and it is an easy thing to do," said GPSC President Mitzi Forbes.

The only requirements made by the company of the GPSC are a $120 enrollment fee, and their time. The GPSC makes no money from the service.

Benefits for the initial requisite five members of the GPSC group will run through April 30 of next year, and additional members may join at a pro-rated fee at any time.

Forbes said many people will probably join the plan at August's Graduate Student Orientation and at the beginning of the next school year, and she expects the GPSC group to be the largest served by EDS within a year.

Currently, GPSC has sent out 100 brochures on the EDS plan, accompanied by a brochure from American Dental Plan and a cover letter explaining each.

American Dental Plan is a service of American Health Network that has been available to all students for years, and has recently target-mailed UA students inde-

pendently from the GPSC mailings.

The initial membership fees for the American Dental Plan may be lower than those for EDS, but Forbes recommended that students look closely at their individual needs and possible future out-of-pocket costs under the plan.

"People need to know that they really do need to look these over," she said, "... and not just (choose) the cheapest one because it's the cheapest one up front."

Clyde Moneyhun, a graduate student of English, was one of those targeted by the independent American Dental Plan mailings.

He joined the plan after reading the cover letter which promised several "free" services, only to find unexpected costs later.

Moneyhun said in a letter to the editor of the Wildcat that he wants to make sure other students are aware of the fees, and said in a later interview that he will be using the plan because he was denied a refund by the company.

"All things considered, it's probably fine," he said. "I just did not read or understand the fine print." He also said if people understood these fees, they might still choose the plan.

Charles Jackson, vice president of American Health Network, said he had spoken with someone with complaints similar to Moneyhun's, and that he is "surprised he did not read the brochure," but that he explained it to the man when he brought his questions forward.

Jackson said he does not think his company's brochure was misrepresentative because all fees are "fully explained", and his company has not changed its procedures during the 17 years it has operated in Arizona.

Forbes said the American Dental Plan "is not a real dental insurance plan," but is "certainly better than nothing, which is what a lot of people have."

Graduate, medical, and law students may request information on the two plans from the GPSC by calling them at 621-ASUA, or by sending e-mail to Because of costs, brochures can only be sent through campus mail, or picked up in person in the ASUA offices.

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