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U of C students at Red Deer College to get dental office

By Scott Strasser, July 26 2016 —

University of Calgary students studying out of Red Deer College currently need to drive to Airdrie or Calgary to access their dental plan. The U of C Students’ Union and its healthcare provider want to change that.

According to SU vice-president operations and finance Branden Cave, SU healthcare provider Gallivan & Associates wants to bring a Dental Choice office to Red Deer, either on the campus or elsewhere in the city.

“Right now, all of our U of C students who are at RDC pay into the plan just like any other student,” Cave said. “We’re looking at ways in the coming years to hopefully get an option for them in Red Deer, so they can use the plan.”

Although they can opt out, U of C students at RDC still pay for the U of C’s dental plan, despite the city not having a Dental Choice office.

The nearest Dental Choice office for students in Red Deer is in Airdrie, according to Cave.

“We’re always looking for ways to improve the program and that’s one of the ways we can get our RDC students to have the same options we have down here,” he said.

Rachel Owen, a program advisor for the U of C’s collaborative BA program at RDC, said there used to be a dental office in Red Deer that students could use through the plan, but that office is no longer available.

“For many of our students, travelling by car to Airdrie is not really an option,” Owen said. “We do have students opt out of the dental portion of the plan if they need to.”

Around 150 U of C students take classes at RDC. In 2015–16, just 21 opted out of the U of C dental plan.

Cave said it could take up to five years to create the office.

“I think it’s a long-term thing,” he said. “Opening a dental office is a comprehensive thing to undertake.”

The U of C dental plan was established after a student referendum vote in 1991. At $193 a year, the plan is the cheapest of Alberta’s universities. U of C students can opt out if they prove they have alternative dental insurance.

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