Your 3 Minute Guide to Health Care Reform

6881503604_49ed3c80cc_mWith the hundreds of political topics, and Miley Cyrus, headlining the news right now, it can be difficult to keep track of what to follow. One of the topics making its rounds in the news is Health Care Reform. As a student or recent grad, the reform will directly affect our coverage options. Often students and graduates don’t realize the importance of health care, as many are still on parents’ insurance as a dependent, but up to 19 million are uninsured! So when considering a college, job, or place to live, take note of your health care options. In fact, we’ve created this handy little guide below to help you get started.

Q: Why is there a reform act? Who does it affect? 

A: The  Affordable Care Act was the Obama Administration’s response to the millions of Americans who do not have and can not afford health insurance.  It will change the way the health care system is setup.  After the recession began in 2008, millions of Americans lost jobs and access to health insurance, increasing medical debt. There will be a new Health Care Marketplace in October, that will allow individuals, families, and small businesses to purchase specified insurance plans for themselves. This is a huge improvement as 1 in 4 Americans have no health insurance. This Act is a solution to help anyone afford health care.

Q: What does the healthcare reform mean for me?

A: It depends on your age and your situation, but you will have the opportunity to get health insurance. With the tough job market, grads and students often take part time jobs, unpaid internships, or anything they can to get experience, which often means forgoing the  health insurance options. Now, you will have the opportunity to purchase affordable health care.

Q: Will I still be covered by my parents’ insurance?

A: Yes, as of September 2010, if you are under the age of 26 you can remain on your parents’ insurance. Prior to 2010, individuals would get kicked off their parents’ insurance at the age of 19, only being allowed to extend to 22 if they were a student, with 30% lacking access to insurance.

Q: Are there requirements to remain on the insurance?

A: Yes, there are stipulations. After college and prior to turning 26, if you have a job that provides health benefits you will no longer be eligible for your parents’ plan.

Q: Should I partake in my campus health center’s insurance policy?

A: It depends. If you are attending college away from home where there aren’t hospitals that accept your parents’ insurance plan then you should. While students can still be on their parents’ plans, college health centers have usually required students to purchase their school’s insurance plans; thus, colleges will now be required to offer more insurance options and abide by the higher standards that the health care reform will bring about.

5019943611_080ff82674_nQ: Will the Health Care reform exclude basic options because of it’s affordability?

A: No. Some specifics that’ll be included are: new insurance policies will now accept pre-existing conditions, therefore you cannot be denied insurance coverage for any medical conditions you may already have. This plan also allows you to choose your doctor, whereas before there was a hierarchy of insurance plans, which allowed a limited selection of doctors. Plans also include free preventive care, so there isn’t a required co-pay.

Q: What is all the debate about at the Federal level?

A: The way this Act will work is that more people/businesses will have to purchase insurance for the cost to be less for everyone. It’s like shopping in bulk, overall there will be more money spent (more insurance purchased) but the per unit (in this case, cost per individual or household) will be less. This will allow more people in America to have health insurance. The federal government will have to make up the difference unless more consumers purchase insurance, and this sparks issue.

Q: Is there a possibility that the reform won’t pass?

A: The Affordable Care Act was technically passed shortly after Barrack Obama became President, with certain policies going into effect every year till 2014.  However, what is debated in the House are certain policies that the Act promises. Thus, both sides of the House are cutting out parts of the legislature to come to a mutual agreement. The Act is so lengthy that it is taking time to review and ensure that each adjusted policy abides by the law.  Overall, the new health care reform will provide more accessible and affordable insurance plans for Americans.

If you would like more details on The Affordable Care Act, see here.

Photo Credit 1: Tax Credits via Flickr

Photo Credit 2: Frits Ahlefeldt-Laurvig via Flickr

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