UC Berkeley health plan error denies coverage for riot-related injuries

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Students at UC Berkeley were shocked to learn that the student health insurance plan doesn’t cover injuries received during riot participation.

According to The Daily Californian, the Berkeley student newspaper, the news also shocked Bahar Navab, the university’s assembly affairs vice president.

It turns out the riot rule, included in the plan’s benefits, was mistakenly included when the campus signed a contract this summer with Aetna, its new health insurance carrier.


The clause, reportedly printed in the school’s most recent benefits booklet, excludes coverage for “expense incurred as a result of injury due to participation in a riot.”

“It’s sad that the (clause) was included,” said Kim LaPean, University Health Services communications manager, DailyCal.org reported. “But what would be sadder is if students thought we wanted to include the misinformation.

“We would never enforce such a clause,” LaPean said. “We respect our students’ rights.”

Aetna reportedly is working to correct the plan’s language. Still, such exclusions governing injuries sustained during riots are “standard” in health care policies, Aetna public relations manager Cynthia Michener told The Daily Californian.

The news comes as the U.S. Department of Education found Berkeley, with a history of student protests since the 1960s, did not create an illegally hostile and anti-Semitic atmosphere following the latest campus protests against Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

A series of UC Berkeley protests during the 1960s -- known as the “Berkeley riots” – were connected to free speech, the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War.

Click for the story from the DailyCal.org.