Understanding How Health Care Reform Affects College Students

By now, most Americans know that President Obama’s Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act has been upheld as constitutional, which means healthcare will continue changing. This is also an important consideration for college students. Although the provisions of this bill will not affect all students personally, it plays a part in how medical care will be provided for all current and future college students.

The changes will determine who receives care, what care is delivered, how care is delivered and the cost of various treatments. In order to take advantage of the positive changes and benefits granted to them, students must know how their coverage terms will change and how care will impact insurance costs. The following paragraphs summarize the most important changes for students.

Students will be covered until age 26. Graduates and undergraduate students may stay on their parents’ coverage until they turn 26, which is a great benefit for young adults who are struggling to find steady employment during or after college. Many recent grads who pay for health insurance costs out of their own pockets pay more than $300 each month. Coverage plans that were more generous before the bill passed are likely to continue rising in cost in the future. If insurers have limitations on the amounts they can charge various age groups, the cost for young adults and recent grads will rise even more.

Colleges may drop their student health plans. Since costs are expected to rise, many colleges in the future will likely drop their health plans. The institutions that continue offering plans will be offering coverage that is closer to what major insurance companies offer, so students will not be receiving discounted rates. The minimum coverage offered to students in these plans has been deemed illegal by the new bill. If students must purchase individual plans, they may be eligible for financial assistance by purchasing coverage on exchanges. This means students with serious financial disadvantages may be able to get better and more affordable coverage than they would have with the plans colleges offered in the past.

Coverage for preventative care will expand. With PPACA, coverage for preventative services will be more generous. This means mammograms, contraceptives, colonoscopies and other popular helpful preventative measures will be available without the need for a copay, deductible or coinsurance. Since coverage following the passing of PPACA will change from what was offered in the past, it is important for all young adults to review their coverage plans carefully.

There will be penalties for people without coverage. If the law remains as it is outlined in the bill, students must pay a penalty fee if they do not buy coverage by 2014. For the first year, the penalty is close to $100. That amount can go as high as $700 for future violations for just one individual. Those who need more medical services will have higher penalties if they do not have coverage.

These are all very important issues for both parents and students to consider. Parents who are not covered should try to obtain coverage or help their college kids find an affordable insurance plan. To learn what options are available and what steps to take, discuss any concerns with an agent today.

About Brian Hendricks

Brian Hendricks is the President of Fidelity Insurance Group. Brian started Fidelity in 2003 with 0 clients. Today Fidelity Insurance Group is a Premier Independent Insurance Agency in Florida with over 3,000 families and businesses insured. Brian currently serves on advisory boards for 2 of the largest property insurance companies in Florida. Knowlege, Integrity, and Committment are his and his agency's guiding principles.
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