Obamacare’s Impact on Campus: Students Lose Health Coverage When Premiums Rise

When Obamacare hits campus, students lose options.

Obamacare mandates are already forcing many colleges and universities to drop student insurance completely or reduce benefits extended to employee spouses, as the University of Virginia recently did.

A letter sent to parents of students at Indiana’s Taylor University this summer explains the school had to choose between dropping student insurance coverage completely or raising premiums by about 110 percent (from $430 to $946 annually for U.S. students). Taylor chose the former, explaining in writing that the private school’s insurance premium costs would rise even higher after the 2013-14 school year.

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius conceded in March that some Americans could see their insurance premiums rise under the new law, but that was after months of insisting premiums would not go up. Sebelius even ignored a warning from the American Council on Education that schools might not be able to afford to continue offering student health plans under the bill.

“I have proof right here,” Carole-Ann Inserra, the mother of one Taylor student, told Heritage. She provided Heritage with a copy of the letter from Taylor. “It’s right here on a piece of paper; it’s right here in writing. Everybody’s insurance rates are going up, so I just don’t understand why people are out there lying to the American people. I do understand: it’s politics. But it’s not the truth.”

The letter from Taylor explicitly blames Obamacare for the changes. Some of the coverage requirements included in the Obamacare mandate also conflict with the school’s religious teaching.

For Carole-Ann and Bob Inserra (the parents of Heritage Analyst David Inserra), it means their daughter Alyssa will no longer have a primary care doctor near her school. She is covered under her parents’ plan, but their insurance does not have primary care doctors in Indiana, which is why they bought the college’s plan in the first place. Carole-Ann is concerned that Alyssa could have an urgent medical need while at school or on the road with the tennis team.

“If something happened to Alyssa, [we] could get it pre-approved, but it would take three days,” she said. “You have to tell the insurance company and it can take up to three days for them to tell you, ‘Okay, you can go to this [local] doctor.’”

Carole-Ann Inserra tells Heritage that she’s most concerned about the trend of making student insurance less affordable. The lack of options is forcing many students to choose between forgoing insurance completely—making rates higher for everyone else in the pool—or accepting government subsidies they might not want for coverage they might not need.

“This doesn’t just affect my daughter; it affects every student that goes to college,” Inserra says. “It’s always the kids; they’re going to have to pay for it.”

Letter to students from Taylor University

Source material can be found at this site.

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