Oct. 1 marked the first day to sign up for the Affordable Care Act, creating a new dynamic to the health insurance industry, which has an impact on everyone, including college students.
The Affordable Care Act requires that all people in the United States have health insurance. Coverage for the Affordable Care Act will begin on Jan. 1 and the last day of open enrollment is Mar. 31.
The insurance will still be offered from private, independent health insurance companies with multiple options, but new criteria needs to be met.
Someone who does not have insurance will be administered a pay-out penalty; the specific amount and deadline for the penalty have not been announced, but the payment price will be based off of income.
Jason Hartzler, manager of student insurance at ISU, explained the impacts of the Affordable Care Act on the student health insurance.
“They need to have a health insurance plan that meets certain criteria,” Hartzler said.
“A lot of students have family insurance, a lot of students have our insurance and a lot of students have both. If a student has our insurance it actually meets the criteria.”
The new criteria for the student health insurance, which was made to the existing plan, includes eliminating the clause denying coverage due to a preexisting condition.
Additionally, in the fall of 2014, prescription drugs will be offered as part of the student benefit plan, Hartlzer explained.
Furthermore, routine and preventive care must be covered and will be covered by student health insurance. This type of care includes contraception and birth control.
Most of these forms of care were offered at Student Health Services, but now they will be covered for students under their health insurance.
“College-aged students are among the highest percentage of students who are underinsured,” Hartzler said.
In addition, under the current law a person can stay under their parents’ health insurance plan until the age of 26.
Concurrently, essential benefits must be covered which include ambulatory patient services, emergency services and hospitalization.
Health insurance companies can no longer put a cap on the deemed essential benefits, they must be unlimited, Hartzler said.
Most plans also require cost-sharing, which includes a person paying for a portion of their care and the insurer will cover the rest.
Qualified health plans are grouped into four categories of cost-sharing which are platinum, gold, silver and bronze.
To sign up for the Affordable Care Act, visit online at www.healthcare.gov.