Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Letter: Student Healthcare

Dear Editor,

Tuition, books, housing, loans. College students all around have to deal with these issues on an almost daily basis each semester. And throw on top of that more priorities such as having a job, paying for car insurance and more. It’s not surprising therefore that many of our peers don’t have the time or money or care to worry about Health care. Many of us think that we are invincible after all, and we tend to not care so much about something like health insurance until we’re out of school.

But being covered is important because often people don’t get covered until they’re done in school, sometimes even not until their mid or late 30’s, and this sometimes leads to people not being able to detect certain disease and get the kind of preventive care so that they don’t run into a midlife health crisis. Being covered has huge advantages for young people, and there are so many benefits and avenues to get covered that people our age need to know about. Especially in this decade, considering all of the changes in the healthcare sector as a result of the Affordable Care Act, which Congress passed and President Obama signed in 2010.

Now regardless of whether or not you support President Obama, or whether you support the healthcare reform act or not, it’s important to know what that law means for you and what benefits related to healthcare are out there.

One of the biggest changes in the Affordable Care Act for young people is that you can stay on your parent’s insurance plans until the age of 26. However, you need to know that you may not be eligible to join your parent’s plan if you are eligible for your own insurance through an employer, and the extension of your parent’s plan is not enforced for plans that are considered “retiree-only.” In addition, the State of Florida has different coverage mandates than other states, so it’s important to find out about your parent’s plan while also finding information from Florida’s Division of Consumer Services (877-693-5236) about how Florida policies may affect your eligibility.

It is important to know when you can enroll in your parent’s plan, as open-enrollment often takes place in December or by the beginning of the New Year, otherwise you have to wait a full year. Also, if you are leaving your University Insurance plan, it becomes imperative for you to start preparing for potentially enrolling in your parent’s plan. You and your parent need to take a proactive role in contacting the health insurance company and filling out any necessary forms.

FAU does not require students to enroll in a health insurance plan, but if you transfer that might change. It’s important to find out information about the insurance plan at your school, and if you are over 26, you will obviously have to consider enrolling. The good news is that the Affordable Care Act will change these health plans to no longer discriminate against students under 19 based on pre-existing conditions, offer free preventive care (flu shots, blood pressure tests, cancer and diabetes screenings) and eliminate lifetime caps in the fall of 2012. By 2014, the pre-existing condition coverage will be there for all ages.

There will be substantial changes to the Medicaid program, and starting in 2014, if you are unemployed with limited income up to $15,000 per year, you may be eligible for Medicaid. Also in 2014, if your employer does not offer you coverage, you will be able to buy insurance directly in the new Health Insurance Exchange, which will offer you a choice of health plans that meet certain benefits and cost standards. There will also be tax credits to assist those who can’t afford insurance. Now 2014 sounds far away, but we have thousands of students who will be graduating in 2014 and 2015, so this is all important to begin considering.

Now, I simply can’t write about health care benefits without talking about the ladies.
The Government recently proposed making prescription birth control considered a part of preventive care, requiring insurers to provide it without co-pays or deductibles in new health plans. This means birth control would be free, while in 2014 health insurance plans will not be allowed to use gender or health status to determine the cost or eligibility of insurance. It’s of course always important to also know about what your plan can offer in the event you get pregnant.

There’s so much more information that young people need to know, whether it’s dealing with pre-existing conditions, young people and cancer, and more! If you want more information, we’ll be tabling all this week in the Breezeway giving out information such “Tool kits” that students can use to get all kinds of information related to health insurance The theme of this campaign is “Friends with Benefits,” that is, friends with healthcare benefits of course! Remember, having health care coverage is not only the right thing to do, but under the new law it will be required. So it is important to begin thinking about this sooner rather than later!

Boris Bastidas is the President of the FAU College Democrats

The UP does not edit or modify the content of letters we receive. To write to us, e-mail [email protected].

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  • J

    JeffSep 20, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    You see benefits and I see a federal power grab over private industry. You say cottage cheese, I say rotten milk…

  • J

    JeffSep 20, 2011 at 7:42 am

    Wow you prolly scractched about .05% of what is actually in the law. Did you forget to mention all the new government agencies, or the 18 separate tax increases that will cost taxpayers $503 billion between 2010 and 2019. PPACA is the a horrible peice of legislation and I for one will NOT be purchasing health insurance due to the UNCONSTITUTIONALITY of this “individual mandate”! The commerce clause is not unending no matter what democrats think.

    • B

      Boris BastidasSep 20, 2011 at 1:24 pm

      Jeff, a letter about student healthcare and the Affordable Care Act will focus mostly on what the act means for students……and again, although we’re obviously Democrats, this article is not to just somehow support the reforms, it’s to let people know about this reform because whether you like it or not, it is the law….Even if the individual mandate were to be deemed unconstitutional, the parts of the ACA we’re highlighting are the law of the land. Now ultimately, the Supreme Court will have to determine whether the mandate is Unconstitutional.

      If you would like to write a letter about how horrible the mandate is and your views on the act, that’s fine we encourage you to do so. But this article is not to debate the act, Congress and the Courts will take care of that and we will too when the time is right. This is to talk about benefits and realities of the act that can and will affect so many of our peers.