The estimated 40 percent of APU students who are not covered under their parents’ insurance policies may notice their university insurance fees almost double in the coming year due to the Affordable Care Act, according to Gidget Wood, a nurse practitioner at the Student Health Center.
While the ACA may cause APU’s campus health costs to skyrocket, university officials assure students that they are anticipating such changes and are preparing to offer help to students who lack the means to make up the cost difference.
For a story that is front and center of national news, college students often dismiss headlines concerning the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
“When I hear the term ‘Obamacare’ and hear the uproar, I don’t have much of a reaction,” said freshman English major Jordyn App, who receives health benefits through her parents’ plan. “It doesn’t affect me.”
While some students like App say Obamacare will not affect them, others believe their awareness of the issue has been heightened in recent months.
“I do care about health care reform because I’m graduating and I’m not going to have a steady career for a while, so it would be helpful if I was able to maintain health care coverage until I am financially independent,” said Amy Naramore, a senior philosophy and biblical studies double major. Naramore is still on her parents’ health care plan and, under the new law, can remain there until she’s 26.
The Obamacare website rollout (healthcare.gov) is still plagued with technical issues while millions of Americans have been or will be sent cancellation letters, despite President Obama’s repeated promise that “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it.” Many others have also seen their premiums skyrocket, some as much as 600 percent, according to a study conducted by the American Action Forum. These headlines have caught the attention of some students and caused skepticism.
“If I know anything about the government, it’s that somewhere in there, someone is benefiting,” said freshman Christian ministries major Tyler Wilborn, who receives his health benefits through APU.
According to the Republican rhetoric, Obamacare might not even be around by the time many current students turn 26.
Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer said that the latest news that millions are actually losing their health care plan “is the first of the blows that will come after the scandal about the website.”
Supporters of the ACA have a much different perspective. They are determined to provide access to health care for every American citizen and, further, to prohibit insurance companies from turning away or charging more for people with pre-existing conditions.
“Whether you like it or not, it’s constitutional,” said freshman commercial music major Adam Tune. “A lot of what it means to be an American means paying for things you don’t want. That Jesus guy talked about this, right?”
Assistant professor of political science and pre-law adviser Douglas Hume, J.D. said the nation may have a new set of problems on its hands.
“Personally, I think national health care is taking the federal government somewhere it wasn’t meant to go,” Hume said. “That level of oversight and intrusion into our private lives was not what the founders intended, but for better or worse, that’s what we have, and at this point, how do we make the best of what we’ve got?”
Objective analysts have yet another outlook, based strictly on dollars and cents. The Congressional Budget Office recently called the Obamacare budget “on an unsustainable path.”
However, until the website is up and running at full speed, there is no way to prove or disprove any of these predictions. In the meantime, as long as students are less than 26 years old and on their parents’ or the university’s plan, it will likely not affect them in the short term.