Second enrollment for healthcare to be available to students
The second enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act is around the corner and students still have the opportunity to explore their insurance options.
The enrollment period will run from Nov. 15 through Dec. 15, and most people are required to have at least basic level of health coverage. College students are not among the people who are exempt from doing so.
“Currently, I don’t have a health insurance,” said media production junior Fabiola Garza. “But I will be purchasing a plan this upcoming enrollment period if I can afford it.”
The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is a law that puts in place a comprehensive health insurance reform. The law aims to give more people the opportunity to have better healthcare coverage and medical services at an affordable cost. Many students are not informed about their options, and therefore aren’t insured.
“Affordability is one the top concerns for most college students,” said Get Cover America National Latino Press Secretary Annette Raveneau. “At the same time, they are the most uninsured population.”
While students have several options for health coverage, they can purchase health plans through healthcare.gov. Based on their income, some students may qualify for lower monthly premiums and other savings.
“It’s so important that young people know that financial help is available to pay for their monthly health premiums,” Raveneau said. “In fact, nearly half of uninsured single young adults could get covered for less than $50 a month.”
Students under 26 may also receive health care coverage under their parents’ health insurance policy. Students, who are enrolled in the UH-endorsed Student Health Insurance Plan, are also considered covered under Obamacare.
“I wasn’t aware that the university offered any insurance,” said undeclared freshman Gardenia Santana.
“So, I haven’t considered getting the one (insurance) the University offers, but I’ll talk it over with my parents and see what’s the best thing to do right now.”
In addition, students under 30 may also purchase a catastrophic plan, which offers lower monthly premiums but higher deductibles. Under this plan students will be able to protect themselves from serious accidents and illnesses.
Obamacare also requires international students to get covered, but they also have options to choose from.
“Usually international students will have the health plan offered by the University,” Raveneau said. “But if they have a current student visa and need insurance, they can apply to get a health plan in the Health Insurance Marketplace and potentially qualify for financial assistance.”
According to healthcare.gov, those who fail to have health coverage in 2015 might find themselves paying a penalty fee when filing their tax returns. The penalty fee will be either 2 percent of your yearly household income or a flat rate depending on whichever one is higher.
Having several options to choose from, Raveneau encourages students to explore their options by using the services of a free certified expert that will help them determine the best health plan for them.
“Regardless of which ever plan you choose, the best option for college students is to get covered and stay covered,” Raveneau said. “So go with whichever plan accomplishes that and then use it.”
Student can learn more about their options by visiting www.healthcare.gov. To find in-person assisters visit www.getcoveredamerica.org/locator/.