Affordable Care Act progresses

Since Congress passed the Affordable Care Act in March 2010, new regulations and standards have been initiated in the health insurance industry which affect 18-24 year olds.

According to information gathered by the United States Census Bureau's Current Population Survey, there has been a significant increase in the number of insured young adults since the act passed.

The percentage of young adults, ages 18 to 24, with insurance increased from 70.7 percent in 2009 to 72.8 percent in 2010, an increase of about 500,000 people.

For students covered by their family's health insurance policies, the Affordable Care Act stipulates that young adults will be able to remain on their parents' policy until the age of 26, even if they aren't living at home.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, however, many students are covered by health insurance provided by their colleges or universities. These plans are often used as supplements for students to augment the coverage they receive under their guardians' plans.  

The protections provided in these plans vary widely based on the institution. The Affordable Care Act would attempt to standardize these protections with other policies.  

On Feb. 11, a notice of proposed rulemaking was published relating to this subject. The rules proposed in this plan are set to affect policies starting on Jan. 1, 2012. These proposed policies center around defining student health insurance plans as "individual health insurance coverage." This will allow student plans to be protected by the regulations placed on other health insurance plans.

Geneseo does not provide health insurance to students. It does, however, recommend a particular plan from Niagara National Life and Health Insurance Company designed for Geneseo students. The plan costs $1,848 for the 2011-2012 academic year and covers students while on campus and at home.

Melinda DuBois, the administrative director of student health and counseling at the Lauderdale Health Center, expressed the importance of students having some form of health insurance to make sure they receive the care they need without incurring high costs.

"While Student Health and Counseling can provide many services, if a student needs to go to the hospital, needs a consultation with an outside provider, such as additional lab work or x-ray, or is transported in an ambulance, insurance is required," DuBois said. "Without insurance, students and parents are burdened with exceptionally large expenses."