New health benefit pays for students’ nicotine replacement
October 24, 2008 by Keira Simmons
The KSA has taken an initiative to promote healthier lifestyles for Kwantlen students by including a subsidized Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) in the Student Benefit plan.
The plan is in partnership with the B.C. Lung Association and targets post-secondary students who want to quit smoking. The partnership began with the association’s initiative to have a quit smoking program offered to Kwantlen students.
“The KSA recognized this was something important and we should have (it) in place in our student benefits program,” said Eddie Lee, the Student Health (SHIP) program coordinator. “It kind of worked hand-in-hand that this program is in place with B.C. Lung because with this new benefit package place, we can really serve the students a whole lot better.”
Lee feels that even without B.C. Lung Associations’s initiative, the KSA would have started an NRT plan.
Students can now receive up to $500 for NRTs, including nicotine gum, lozenges, patches, sprays and prescription medicines.
“I can’t say one works better then the other, but I do think we cover all the basis, and we can give students as many options, or tools they need,” said Lee.
Students will be re-reimbursed for over-the-counter NRTs by taking their receipts to the KSA and filling out a claims form. For prescription medicines, students must take their medical card to the pharmacy and they will be automatically covered.
Lee said that creating a smoke-free campus is not the primary goal of the program, but that it is a matter of helping students who want to quit smoking by making resources available.
“We recognize especially with Kwantlen, and with having a trades campus, statistically we have a higher percentage of smoking,” said Lee. “By being part of this initiative, I think we have the resources to help build a successful program here.”
The Student Benefit package (health and hental insurance) costs students $179 a year, although they can opt out if they are already covered by extended medical elsewhere.