Letter to the editor: UVM health care is inadequate

 

Dear Editor,

The last few times I’ve gone to the Davis Center I have been asked for spare change by students who are raising money for breast cancer research. I applaud these students; I have a relative currently fighting breast cancer.

It is a horrible disease that has — for far too long — been generally ignored and poorly understood. That being said, I can’t help but wonder what their reaction would be if I told these students the real reason I can’t give them money — I am a chronically ill student who is only covered by UVM’s student insurance.

I wonder also how many people at UVM are aware of how laughably inadequate UVM’s student health insurance really is.

Most students are relatively healthy. They are young, active and do not require much medical treatment. But there is a small subset of us who do not fit this description.

We are the chronically ill. Through no fault of our own, we have cancer, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, cystic fibrosis and/or some other incurable illness.

We have diseases we did nothing to deserve, and we require constant medical supervision and medication. Our lives literally depend on the quality of healthcare we receive. And we are terribly underserved by the student insurance available through UVM.

Few people realize just how limited student insurance really is. How many students know that their prescriptions are only covered to an annual cap of $2,500? For the average student this is not a problem.

But for those of us whose monthly prescriptions run from $500-1000, this is totally inadequate. Unfortunately, those of us in this situation are also disqualified for most private or public prescription-aid programs because we are technically insured. I’ve lost count of the number of medical aid programs for which I have been rejected.

Once again, I give my heartfelt thanks and commendation to those students seeking to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research. But I would like to turn the spotlight of public awareness onto the students here at UVM who are struggling to pay for our own prescriptions, tests, and specialist appointments.

We are stuck in a terrible situation that sees us having to pay thousands of dollars a year on medical bills. Until or unless the student insurance policy is changed so that it actually covers students who need long-term healthcare, we simply won’t have the money to donate.

We support breast cancer research, but are too overwhelmed with our own soaring medical costs.

Sincerely,

Sam Hyde, M.S.

PhD candidate, College of Medicine