Student dental plan realized

Portland State University recently finalized a contract with Willamette Dental Insurance Inc. for a school wide dental plan. In prior years, dental coverage was not included with the student health plan.

The Health Services desk has received numerous phone calls regarding the plan.

“Even two weeks ago we had students calling regarding the dental plan, which was odd, because I didn’t think the news was released about it yet,” said Curt Kentner, a receptionist in Student Health Services.

Each term, students will be asked to pay $20 on top of general tuition for the insurance, whether they use it or not.

“You have to realize that most dental plans from employers run anywhere from $20 to $50 dollars monthly,” said Ron Pattee, a service agent. “It’s a very robust plan for the amount of money we were limited to.”

What does that $20 dollars a term cover? With the insurance plan, you have no annual maximum.

Office visits will incur a co-payment of $10 dollars each time. Teeth cleanings will cost $30, as will fillings. Seventy-five percent of the cost for crowns will be covered, and root canals will cost from $100 to $150 depending on the tooth involved.

One concern is the amount of people who will actually use the insurance. Some people are still covered by their parents’ dental plans, and others have dental insurance through their jobs.

The university is under a one-year plan with Willamette Dental that will give it time to track the number of students using the plan and determine whether it is worthwhile to renew the contract, Pattee said.

There are more than a dozen offices available for students to visit in the greater Portland area under the plan.

This new dental plan was not a university initiative, but was a grassroots campaign from ASPSU and the students at Portland State.

“We heard a lot of people say they wanted dental coverage,” Adam Zavala, ASPSU communications director, said. “ASPSU decided to run with it. We did some polling of students and found that 75 percent of them were interested in a dental plan.”

ASPSU President Kristin Wallace said, “It is a unique plan in that it is the first dental plan offered at a major university.”

Three companies originally presented bids: Oregon Dental Insurance, Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Willamette Dental. Willamette Dental came through with what was thought to be the best package.

The dental plan is a welcome victory for student government.

“We felt it was really important for our school to get this,” Zavala said.

For more information about the plan, visit the Student Health Services office in the basement of Neuberger Hall, Room D4.