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Obamacare caters to young adults

December 12, 2013

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) will require everyone in the United States to be covered by health insurance by Jan. 1, 2014.

To ensure coverage by this date, people must apply for coverage by the latest date of Dec. 23, 2013. UW-River Falls has collaborated with the UW System to create an option for students without health coverage.

According to healthcare.gov, there are 20 million uninsured young people between the ages of 18 to 35. Approximately ten percent of Wisconsin residents are uninsured. Six to eight percent of UW students are uninsured.

Student Health Services intern Jessica Fillion encouraged students to stay healthy but to also stay informed.

“I think that there should be more knowledge spread about it instead of just opinions,” Fillion said.

Student Rachael Allen is one of many students who said she feels ill informed about the ACA.

“The information is so confusing and there is so much to know and worry about,” Allen said.

Fillion and Allen will be covered under their parents’ insurance plans, like most students, until age 26.

International students, recent graduates and young adults without insurance have the most to risk if they chose to stay uninformed. The penalty for not having insurance after the first year is $95 or one percent of one’s income. By 2016 the penalty will be $695 or two and a half percent of one’s income.

The UW System insurance is targeted specifically for active college student needs. UWRF students currently have access to basic health services covered by the River Falls Medical Clinic and Piece County Reproductive Health at no extra charge but it is not considered health insurance. Student Health and Counseling Services is paid for by Student Segregation Fees and a student will not be considered insured if this is the only form of coverage they have.

The UW System insurance will provide additional coverage extended from the basic health service coverage. Reproductive health care, basic psychiatrist care, general clinic visit care and emergency care is what a student would benefit from having UW System insurance. This insurance plan will have a $500,000 policy limit with a $300 in-network deductible and a $500 out-of-network deductible.

Student Health nurse Lori Otto urged students to look into all the options of insurance coverage.

“Staying under a parent’s insurance may be beneficial but for each student it is going to be different and I would say definitely check it out because it will be an advantage for some students to sign up for one of the plans,” Otto said.

Alice Reilly-Myklebust, the Director of Student Health and Counseling Services, said she would like to students to know that Health Services is available to help students with questions.

“All of us in health care are learning more about the law everyday,” Reilly-Myklebust said. “Students need to be aware of the law effects them.”

For more information about the ACA and UW System insurance visit the Student Health and Counseling webpage, www.uwrf.edu/StudentHealthAndCounseling, or visit their office located in 211 Hagestad Hall. Visit healthcare.gov to apply for an insurance plan.