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New Dental Plan Unveiled by UHS

Students Can Now Get Preventative Care

By Valerie J. Macmillan

For the first time, students will be able to get non-emergency dental care through University Health Services (UHS) through a program tailored to student needs, officials said yesterday.

"This is something that's been considered off and on for quite some time," said Janet L. Thompson, manager of UHS insurance programs. "There was a need to provide preventative dental care. We were seeing something that if it had been treated sooner wouldn't have been very costly."

David S. Rosenthal '59, the director of UHS, said that the plan is part of UHS's focus on preventative care.

"The major goal is to continue all the preventative health care. This is just one further spectrum in that goal," Rosenthal said. "The program was an evaluation of need. There are significant needs, specifically with international and graduate students."

The new plan is specially designed for students, covering cleanings, fillings, fluoride treatments for people with extensive or frequent cavities and bitewing radiographs that check for cavities between teeth. University affiliates, including research fellows and post-doctoral fellows, will also be eligible for the plan.

"The dental needs of student age population are much different from those of a general population," said Richard W. Valachovic, chief of the UHS Dental Service. "Most students don't have a lot of needs like a loss of teeth because of periodontal disease, crowns and bridges or dentures. We're able to bring the premium very, very low while covering the kind of treatment they need."

"Eighteen- to 30-year-olds need a basic cleaning," Valachovic said. "The new insurance plan will allow two cleanings a year and have the restorative needs [fillings] taken care of."

The year-long dental plan will cost individual students $115.32. Services are covered up to $1,500, though there is a $10 fee for each office visit. There are also single-semester plans.

According to a draft memo, UHS may add other enrollment periods that will be more flexible.

As in the past, the normal UHS health fee will continue to cover ,emergency dental care to relieve pain or dealwith infections.

Thompson said that while it is difficult topredict the enrollment, UHS is "conservativelyestimating" that 2,500 students will sign up forthe plan.

No new hirings are necessary to implement theplan, Thompson said Current staff from the dentalschool and UHS will be handling the extra work.

UHS will be using mailings and placing fliersin the registration materials to tell studentsabout the plan before October 16 all enrollmentdeadline.

"There will be an initial mailing go people whohave used the dental service in the past,"Thompson said. "Every student will receive abrochure and application in their registrationpacket or through their proctor. It will be postedonline--it's available in through VINE."

Alison D. Overtholt contributed to thereporting of this story.

Thompson said that while it is difficult topredict the enrollment, UHS is "conservativelyestimating" that 2,500 students will sign up forthe plan.

No new hirings are necessary to implement theplan, Thompson said Current staff from the dentalschool and UHS will be handling the extra work.

UHS will be using mailings and placing fliersin the registration materials to tell studentsabout the plan before October 16 all enrollmentdeadline.

"There will be an initial mailing go people whohave used the dental service in the past,"Thompson said. "Every student will receive abrochure and application in their registrationpacket or through their proctor. It will be postedonline--it's available in through VINE."

Alison D. Overtholt contributed to thereporting of this story.

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