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UWRF service provides health insurance information

March 7, 2014

On March 12 and 13, UW-River Falls Student Health and Counseling Services will have Affordable Care Act (ACA) information tables in the University Center (UC) for students to learn more about applying for health insurance.

According to the Student Health and Counseling webpage, a new online Health Insurance Marketplace launched on Oct. 1, 2013, as part of the federal ACA that gives students the opportunity to consider new health insurance options available.

Starting on Jan. 1, 2014, the ACA requires most individuals to have health insurance. Students need to understand where they stand when it comes to their health insurance before the deadline of March 31, 2014.

Alice Reilly-Myklebust, the director of Counseling and Health Services encourages students to learn about the different options they may have when it comes to health insurance and Badgercare, which is healthcare coverage to people who reside in Wisconsin more than nine months out of the year whose employers didn’t provide it.

“Students may very well benefit by applying for health insurance plan on the exchange or Badgercare and get a plan that doesn’t cost very much,” Reilly-Myklebust said. “It makes a lot of sense for students to think about things like this.”

The ACA has provided students the opportunity to remain on their parents’ insurance until they are 26 years old, as well as remain under their parents’ plan even if they no longer live with them, are not a dependent on a parent’s tax return, are no longer a student or are married.

“The Affordable Care Act has resulted in some great changes and will continue to do so,” Reilly-Myklebust said.

Students are urged to visit the tables because the deadline for enrolling is approaching, and there is a lot of information to know before-hand. Jake Peterson, a sophomore at UWRF, is planning on stopping by the tables next week.

“I honestly don’t know much about health insurance at all,” Peterson said. “I know I’m under my mom’s health insurance, but I think it is important for me, as well as other students, to learn more about health insurance and what plans I can qualify for.”

Laura Otto, a student health nurse, works with students and helps them understand their options when it comes to health insurance and what they can qualify for.

“I spend a good portion of my day educating students about the healthcare system,” Otto said. “The question is how we can get students the best healthcare for the least amount of money because money is tight with students and we understand that.”

According to the spring of 2012 National College Health Assessment, 79.3 percent of students were under their parents’ health insurance plan, 11 percent under another plan, 6.9 percent who don’t have insurance, 2 percent under a UW plan and 0.8 percent of students are not sure.

“A lot of students have insurance through their parents, but there are a lot of students that don’t,” Reilly-Myklebust said. “Those are the students that may very well qualify for a subsidized plan, so it is to their benefit to check it out.”

The tables will be in the UC from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on March 12 and 13. There will be information on how to enroll and what to enroll for, as well as professionals there to help students understand what types of plans they may qualify for.