NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


November 20, 2009

If the health care overhaul passes, it might affect college students' access to parental plans, employment and individual rates or an uninsured tax if colleges choose to mandate insurance coverage, says the Commonwealth Times.

According to Devon Herrick, a health economist and senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis:

  • Proposals for the bill would attempt to overcharge young individuals' rates to cost-subsidize older individuals' rates.
  • In the individual market, where many students get coverage, rates for people with pre-existing conditions, who tend to be older, would get lower premiums.
  • Under the existing proposals, underrides for pre-existing conditions would not be permitted while limited adjustments for age would be allowed.

"A young person -- maybe 20 or 22 -- would be charged half of what someone 60 years old would be charged," Herrick said.  "Of course if you don't pay it, there'd be a fine … What (some Congress members) are talking about now is 2.5 percent of your income."

Some members of Congress want to have tight banding for age, no underriding for (pre-existing conditions) and have some type of individual mandate where you would be required to have coverage, says Herrick.

How the individual mandate might affect students is uncertain.  The policy could be implemented through an employer mandate, says Herrick.

"Obviously (if) you're a full-time student it may not affect you," says Herrick.  "But it might make it harder to get that part-time job if an employer sees the chance that they might have to pay thousands of dollars more in health coverage or a fine for someone working part time."

Source: Erica Terrini and Jillian Quattlebaum, "Health care reform affects student coverage, provides options," Commonwealth Times, November 20, 2009.


Browse more articles on Health Issues