health care for adults

Foregoing dental cleanings for years at a time. Paying over $6,000 for ankle surgery at Georgetown Hospital. Spending hundreds of dollars per year on contacts and glasses. Requesting a short-term leave of absence for illness or disability, only to be told that taking leave will cost you your salary and your health insurance. Seeking group mental health therapy at CAPS (Counseling and Psychiatric Services) only to realize that the group includes undergraduate students whom you are currently teaching.

These are all real experiences that Georgetown grads who are enrolled in United Healthcare’s Premier Plan have had when seeking health, dental, vision, and mental health care. With a dangerously high out-of-pocket maximum of $5,000 per year (formerly, $6,350 per year- compared to bargained $1,200/year at the University of Washington Seattle), no coverage for non-emergency vision or dental needs, and numerous vague and confusing restrictions, the Premier Plan fails many graduate workers. At the University of Michigan, the employer pays 100% of the dental coverage (Article XI Section B) which includes two cleanings and one x-ray per year. They also pay a maximum of $700 per year for mental health services (MOU VI).

The Premier Plan fails graduate workers because it was clearly designed to serve undergraduates: students who tend to be younger, with fewer health care needs, and who are eligible to remain on their parents’ insurance plans. Graduate workers, on the other hand, tend to be older, more likely to have families with health care needs, and are more likely to experience serious health issues at some point in their time at Georgetown. What’s more, the majority of graduate workers have no choice but the Premier Plan. They are too old to sign on as dependents on their parents’ plans, and they cannot afford alternative insurance plans on a graduate worker’s salary.

We deserve better. Graduate workers deserve a plan that doesn’t force people to lie to their doctors to receive contraception—which Georgetown Faculty do not need to do. Graduate workers deserve a plan that does not include an out-of-pocket maximum constituting over 20% of their annual salary. We deserve better mental health resources, without the high co-pay that functions as a barrier for many graduate workers in seeking mental health care at all.

In short, the graduate workers of Georgetown deserve a health care plan that works for the demographics that compose this population, and securing this is one of GAGE’s top priorities.