Student health insurance key issue at latest GSO meeting

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Syracuse University’s student insurance plan covers travel expenses for anyone who seeks reproductive care in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. calf.

On Wednesday, the final Graduate Student Organization meeting of the semester focused on SU’s Student Health Insurance Plan. Barnes Center Director of Health Services Operations Kathleen Coughlin outlined the policy’s coverage of travel expenses, as well as benefits including 24/7 medical coverage on-campus and no charges for office visits, as incentives to join the plan.

In 2016, SU first required that all-full-time students either enroll in SU’s health insurance plan or prove they had a third-party insurance plan that met the standards of SU and the Affordable Care Act.

“We’re definitely a lot lower than the market is right now… and a lot of that I think is from using a health and wellness center that doesn’t charge for office visits, and trying to encourage that usage as much as possible, Coughlin said.

Coughlin also provided an overview of pricing in comparison to other institutions and options available for students, and highlighted the Barnes Center’s preventative care via immunizations, such as the Barnes Center’s flu shot clinics and COVID-19 vaccine shots.

Other business:

Members of the GSO’s executive board put forward their officer reports for the meeting, with the majority of the reports focused on initiatives and goals heading into the spring semester.

GSO President Yousr Dhaouadi announced that Gretchen Ritter, SU’s vice chancellor, provost and chief academic officer, will speak on increasing funding for the university’s minimum stipend levels at the upcoming University Senate meeting on Dec. 14. She called the provost’s willingness to hear and speak on the needs of graduate students a sign of progress in the GSO’s efforts to improve funding.

“We should be proud of the fact that… this is the first time our advocacy takes a stance on the Senate floor,” Dhaouadi said. “So, if the provost is making decisions about that, that’s a very positive thing.”

Dhaouadi also said that several GSO members will meet with Cynthia Carnaham, SU’s interim assistant vice president for budget and planning, to discuss the university’s budgeting and funding for graduate students in December. Between the two events, Dhaouadi said she hopes the GSO can produce “fruitful results.”

President Dhaouadi added that the GSO is filing a request for graduate student representation in the University Senate Student Life Committee.

Additionally, Michael Ammoery, GSO’s vice president of external affairs, outlined a goal of boosting engagement among graduate students. On Thursday, GSO will host a “take a break, take a gift event” at the GSO office to provide a “holiday gift” with finals week approaching.

Ammoery said the GSO’s Outreach and Civic Engagement committee is currently working with Hendricks Chapel to coordinate a future clothing drive. Ammoery said the idea is “still a work in progress,” but also that GSO will continue reaching out to members of the university for feedback.

“This is what we’re trying to achieve,” said Ammoery. “It’s to go out and help others or whoever is in need.”


Contact Dominic: [email protected] | @DominicChiappo2

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