Will new healthcare initiatives help college students?

Besides the usual requirements for future college students such as grades, test scores and other miscellaneous items, students now have another requirement to check off their list for college: health insurance.

Although many students have health insurance through his or her parent there is a handful of students who don’t have health insurance. This forces these students to purchase health insurance through the university.

The insurance has to be paid in full when tuition is due, by the time the student starts class. The students that have health insurance would waive the application for the university’s health insurance by completing a form indicating their insurance policy information.

By law, everyone must have insurance. If someone chooses to opt out of having insurance, one could face penalties. With health insurance being a requirement to attend college, students believe that this requirement will force students to incur more debt. In May of 2018, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum said, “As Governor, I’ll fight to lower premiums, make health care a constitutional right for every Floridian, and move us toward Medicare for all. We need a Governor who will strengthen the Affordable Care Act for workers, and I promise to do that next year.”

According to Christine Sexton, who works with the News Services of Florida, “Premiums for health insurance plans sold on the federal marketplace are expected to increase by nearly 16.9 percent in Florida next year due to changes in the Affordable Care Act, according to a new analysis.”

On Aug. 28, Gillum became the first African American Democratic nominee for governor in Florida.

President Barack Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) also known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare, into law in 2010. The purpose of this act was to provide coverage to uninsured Americans, lower health care costs, and cover patients who have pre-existing conditions.

Keith Black, a senior construction engineering student from South Carolina, said, “Health insurance wasn’t a requirement when I enrolled at Florida A&M University. However, my junior year when I learned about the new requirements it threw me off track because I set a budget for myself. Unfortunately, my insurance didn’t meet the requirements, which not only forced me to enroll with the insurance the school offered but also forced me to take out a loan to pay for the insurance.”

Below is a chart of FAMU’s health insurance rates for the 2017-2018 school year

Although this is a lot to add on to a student’s plate, the plans issued by the university have to meet the requirements of the ACA such as emergency services, hospitalization, mental health and substance use disorder services, prescription drugs etc. Throughout a student’s college years, he or she may become ill, become pregnant, get in an accident, and the lists goes on. During this time, students aren’t financially stable to take care of medical bills, so it is pertinent that each student has health insurance.

William Hudson, the vice president of FAMUs Division of Student Affairs, says, “it’s the cost to go to college and every university requires it; however, financial aid can cover the cost.”

FAMU students’ deadline to waive the application was Sept. 3. With Gillum’s initiative for healthcare, it could possibly ease healthcare requirements for the uninsured and most of all students pursuing education.

Voting for the governor of Florida will be in Nov. 8.