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Healthcare Reform Could Negatively Affect Student Health Insurance

If you’ve checked your Penn State e-mail account recently, you’ve probably noticed the influx of messages warning you of the rapidly approaching Sept. 7 deadline to purchase student health insurance.

Currently, Penn State does not require proof of insurance for permanent residents and United States citizens. Karen Kline, manager of student health insurance for Penn State, says this is because many students are still covered by their parent or guardian’s health insurance plans. She adds that making insurance mandatory may create “a financial barrier to students continuing and finishing their degrees.”

However, health insurance is mandatory for international students and their dependents, and probably a good investment for everyone else not covered under their parents’ plans. For these students, University Health Services offers a variety of affordable options through limited-benefit student insurance policies.

It may come as a surprise that for once Penn State doesn’t jump at the opportunity to tack on additional costs to our tuition bills. But don’t loosen that grip on your wallets yet. With the health care reform debate underway, those students not covered by their parents are at risk of getting ripped off via Obamacare.

Under Obamacare, universities may lose the ability to offer student health plans. This concern was expressed in a letter written by the American Council on Education to Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services.

The new health law would extend coverage for those on their parents’ plans until the age of 26. However, as universities’ ability to offer student health policies is at stake, the health reform could result in even higher costs for those without parental insurance coverage.

In regards to how this could affect our university, Kline is still unsure.

“With the new healthcare reform, we are still waiting to see how this will impact Penn State and our students for the future,” said Kline. “At this time, it is still undetermined.”

About the Author

Tara Maerz

Hi I'm Tara. I grew up in Abington (Penn State Abington is basically my backyard). I am a junior Print Journalism major. I enjoy traveling, trashy reality TV shows, cereal and pillows.


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