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September 3, 2003

Medical, Dental Insurance Coverage
Restored To Graduate Assistants

UConn graduate assistants, stung last year by the state's decision to exclude research and teaching assistants from the state employee health insurance plan, are once again able to obtain health insurance through the University.

A committee that included Dale Dreyfuss, vice chancellor for business and administration; Michael Kurland, director of Student Health Services; purchasing director Sharon Alexander; and Karen Cajka, a representative of the Graduate Student Senate, met through much of the summer to review plans offered by several health insurance providers.

With the assistance of the state controller's office, Anthem Blue Cross has been selected to provide medical benefits for about 2,200 graduate assistants eligible for the plan, says Janet L. Greger, vice provost for research and graduate education and dean of the graduate school. CIGNA will offer coverage for the graduate assistants' dental needs.

"I think it's a very good plan but, more important, I believe the students think it's a good plan," says Greger. "I'm very happy with the results."

Graduate assistants interested in enrolling should return paperwork by September 5, Greger says. Information on the plan is available at

Graduate assistants will contribute from $10 per pay period for an individual health plan to $98 per check for a family plan, depending on their choice of coverage. Dental coverage costs range from $8 per pay period to $28. There is a $15 co-pay for most doctor visits, a $10 co-pay for generic drugs, and a $20 to $30 co-pay for brand name drugs.

The dental plan provides a typical range of coverage, including 80 percent coverage for fillings and other general dental repair, and 50 percent coverage for major restorative work, including crowns, bridges, and dentures.

"We believe the coverage is comparable to or better than what most graduate assistants across the country are receiving," says Greger. She adds that the University is paying virtually the same amount as last year for the new plan.

Greger says the plan, unlike the previous plan, also is available to graduate students who are fellows on National Institutes of Health or federal training grants. In the past, she says, some of these coveted researchers would turn down an offer to come to UConn because they couldn't obtain health insurance.

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