The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, was implemented on Oct. 1, despite the House Republicans efforts to not fund the law, and MSUM students have been experiencing the benefits.
After 43 failed repeals by Republicans before Oct. 1, Obamacare is now able to supply millions of Americans with health care who could not afford it before. Although there were some glitches with the website when it first opened, healthcare.gov is available for individuals to look up affordable health care in their state.
Citizens have until the deadline of Dec. 15 to sign up in order to have coverage beginning Jan. 1.
Key features of Obamacare, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, include free preventive care, prescriptions for seniors, protection against health-care fraud, small business tax credits, a health insurance marketplace to access health care, consumer assistance and protection for those who have preexisting conditions.
A feature helping college students, including students at MSUM, is being able to stay under parents’ health care until the age of 26. Before President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law on March 23, 2010, insurance companies could usually remove children at the age of 19, sometimes older if they were students.
Now children can join or remain on a plan even if they are married, not living with their parents, attending school, not financially dependent on their parents or eligible to enroll in their employer’s plan.
Since most students attending MSUM are 26 or younger, all of them should know about the Obamacare benefit of staying under their parents health care until 26.
Ian Carr, an education senior who has already earned a history degree, has researched Obamacare and its features.
“I think personally that Obamacare could be a really great idea if it’s done right, but if it’s not implemented right and if people fight against it at every opportunity then it’s never going to work out properly,” Carr said. “There will always be major riffs in the system, but if it’s done right it could be a really good thing.”
Carr is a student who does not have health insurance, so he will experience first hand how Obamacare will affect his health care.
“(Obamacare) is going to affect me. It’s going to affect all of us,” Carr said. “I’ve personally been waiting for the fiasco and all the glitches to get fixed. I’m in no dire need to get health insurance. I’m not doing any risky shit that will get me hurt, and I don’t get sick so I’m in no rush. And I will sign up for it, and hopefully, it won’t cost an arm and a leg.”
Under the law, if someone doesn’t have health insurance in 2014, they may need to pay a fee. The government’s justification is if a person needs medical care and doesn’t have health insurance to pay for it, the burden is not just on that person, the burden spreads to others.
According to healthcare.gov, “The fee in 2014 is one percent of your yearly income or $95 per person for the year, whichever is higher.”
If a person continues to go without health insurance, the fee increases every year. In 2016 the fee increases to 2.5 percent of a person’s income or $695 per person, whichever is higher. The website stresses that this fee does not go toward health insurance coverage, it is a fee with no benefits.
Although Carr has not signed up for health insurance through Obamacare yet, he thinks mandatory health insurance for all is necessary for citizens to protect themselves against the high costs of medical care.
“I think all the expenses of medical costs are wildly out of control, and because of that I think everybody should have insurance,” he said. “If I can’t go in there and pay for it, then it gets passed on to other people and I personally don’t like that.”
North Dakota residents can check out healthcare.gov for more information about health care options and insurance plans. Minnesota residents can access the state’s own health insurance exchange at mnsure.org.
BY JESSICA JASPERSON