UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | May 21, 2024

Skipping health insurance risky for students

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Some millennials find health insurance unaffordable or bewildering to understand, according to a new survey.

Eleven percent of millennials are not insured. This percentage has dropped since 2013, when 23 percent millennials were uninsured, according to a survey by The Transamerica Center for Health Studies.

“I am a full-time student, focusing on my schooling,” said Kristin Parry, a junior media studies major from Highland, “I often don’t have the time, let alone the money, to deal with, or have, health insurance.”

Parry recently turned 26, and according to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, she is no longer able to stay on her parents’ insurance plan.

The PPACA, otherwise known as ObamaCare, is a plan that requires every American to have health insurance. The plan’s goal allows affordable health care to be accessible for millions of Americans who are uninsured.

Along with Parry, many Americans, mostly student millennials, cannot afford healthcare.

If Americans do not receive ObamaCare or other healthcare options, they are required to pay a fee every month for not having health insurance.

Parry said she is worried about receiving these fines yet finds it difficult to find affordable insurance.    

“Affordability is an important decision-making factor and characteristic for students and millennials. However, nearly half struggle to pay for their healthcare and most have taken some action to avoid or minimize healthcare costs in the past yea

Transamerica has helped students with this decline in uninsured students by providing college student health care options to help students get on track with health care as a college student. This includes six options for complying with the individual mandate of the PPACA. First, staying on parent’s plan until age 26. Second, receive Medicaid coverage, depending on income level and state. Third, former foster youth can access Medicaid coverage until 26 regardless of income. Fourth, find an employment-based insurance plan. Fifth, purchase a private plan through, for example Southern Utah Insurance. Sixth, receive student health insurance.

Most universities require that students have health coverage; however Dixie State University does not offer students health insurance. It does provide the Health and Wellness Center, though this does not help with insurance.

“The whole process to health insurance is just too much to handle on my own,” Parry said. “It would be beneficial to have someone guide me to the best options according to my needs.”

Aaron Palmer, a DSU alumnus and employee at Southern Utah Insurance, said insurance can be hard to get because there is only a small window of time where you can get insurance. 

This window starts Nov. 1 and ends Jan. 31. Many students are unaware of that, and are left to pay the monthly fines until the open dates or must register for Medicaid or other plans.  

Shelby Kassuba, a junior media studies major from Seattle, said she never thought about health insurance as a student until a serious injury happened to her. Kassuba had torn her oblique muscle. At the time, Kassuba did not have health insurance so, she said she decided to wait until health insurance would somehow provide. After a while, Kassuba said she received a red rash where her muscle was torn and decided to go to the hospital immediately, even though she did not have insurance.

Kassuba was worried about the hospital bills until an offer came, giving her free insurance for a year. This insurance is called Apple Health Coverage. 

Unfortunately, this coverage is only available in Washington state. There is a six month short-term plan that Utah does provide, but is not a qualified health plan. That being said there still is a monthly fee to pay with that short-term plan.

“If it wasn’t for Apple (Health) coverage, I would probably still be paying for my medical bills,” Kassuba said.

By looking up student health insurance online, many Utah companies are willing to give free quotes and cheaper help to students and others get on a healthcare plan.

More information or help can be found on Healthcare and eHealth insurance, which coverage options, benefits and advantages of health insurance, and information the importance of health care as a student.