Health care reform protects students

Julie Sickel

Students approaching graduation can breathe a little easier these days thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

“We’re very pleased with the bill,” said Heather McMahon, communications director for bill supporter Rep. Tim Ryan. “This reform extends healthcare to people who have missed out in the past.”

On Sept. 23, the portion of the bill that provides for adults to stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26 took effect. Young adults who have been cut off from their parents’ insurance can now be added back on to care plans as well.

“It’s very comforting to know that you can stay on your parents’ health insurance. Thanks to budget cuts with higher education, a lot of times universities can’t offer as many positions where you’re given health care as a graduate student,” said Don Jason, graduate student majoring in library and information sciences. “It takes at least a little of the pressure off for the first few years of job searching.”

For Ohioans, young adults can now reap the benefits of their parents’ health insurance coverage for even longer than the national reform allows.

“Revisions for the state of Ohio under Ohio Health Bill I say that employers have to allow adult dependents to stay on their parents’ coverage until age 28 effective Jan. 1,” said Loretta Shields, Kent State benefits manager.

Shields explained that although more dependents have been added to the University health insurance coverage, the changes will not increase costs to Kent State students.

Health care reform changes

– Children with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied health insurance coverage.

– Young adults can now stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26 (28 in Ohio).

– Insurance companies can no longer set lifetime caps for health insurance coverage or drop people from their health insurance once they get sick.

– Adults who are uninsured because of pre-existing conditions will have access to affordable health insurance.

“Administrative costs will increase,” Shields said. “We have annual increases every year that we receive from our carriers as a result of rising health care costs. There will be an additional premium that will be charged to employees for the adult dependents that are 26 to 28 as a result of the changes in the Ohio state law.”

In addition to extending the time young adults can stay on their parents’ insurance plan, the Affordable Care Act provides for more preventative services that require no out-of-pocket costs.

“Preventative services are exams, screenings, immunizations and other interventions designed to prevent disease or to detect it at an early stage so that it can be treated before it becomes life threatening,” said Willie Oglesby, assistant professor of health policy and management for the College of Public Health.

Oglesby said pap smears and flu immunizations are examples of preventative services.

In reference to the new health care changes, Jason summed it up with a timeless expression: “If you don’t have your health, you really don’t have anything.”

Contact Julie Sickel at [email protected].