UCD Students’ Union has negotiated with the Vice-President for Students, Dr Martin Butler, for the college to subsidise €5 of Quinn Healthcare’s new health insurance scheme for UCD students.
Students will now pay €40 for the unique healthcare plan, which will cover two visits to a psychiatrist, two visits to a nurse and four visits to a GP in the Student Health Centre over a twelve-month period.
It is 13 months since the announcement that students were to be charged for use of the Student Health Centre, setting a visit to a nurse at €10 and a visit to a Doctor at €25, whereas prior to this there was no charge. A consultation with a psychiatrist now costs €40 per hour.
Students who struggled to pay these charges previously had the option of applying to the Student Welfare Fund, which was set up by SU Welfare Officer Scott Ahearn, in an effort to assist students without the means to pay their medical fees.
A university spokesperson said that the cost of the policy is “considerably less than the alternative options available in the wider marketplace”.
UCDSU President Paul Lynam stated that he is “opposed to pay-per-use healthcare in UCD” and that he has always believed “that healthcare for students should be paid from the student services charge”. However, he concedes that this scheme is a step in the right direction, saying that it could lead to greater savings for students. “[The scheme] has the potential to save students hit by illness a considerable amount of money.”
Lynam added: “UCDSU has worked hard to deliver this scheme for students and it’s a major step forward for student healthcare in UCD.”
UCDSU Welfare Vice-President Scott Ahearn spoke of his view of the financial benefits of the scheme, stating that it will “relieve some of the pressure and allay students’ concerns regarding healthcare,” and that he expects the scheme to offer an “excellent alternative to pay-per-use”.
Students who choose not to adopt specially tailored health plan face the same charges that were present last year.
Students can sign up to the scheme or request more information at stands in Quinn School of Business, the Newman Building and the Science Building.