By Lauren Belcher | CBelcher@flagler.edu
Graphic by Katie Davis
One thing that anyone — not just students — should know about the Health Care Reform bill is that it will affect them now, in September and then permanently in 2014.
Another important note: everyone will be affected differently. It affects college students differently than elderly on Medicare or sick children.
5. The HCR bill includes the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act.
With this act, the government said higher education will be more affordable. The Committee on Education and Labor said the bill changes loans and how students pay for them.
According to its press assistant, Andra Belknap, the bill increases the maximum annual Pell Grant scholarship, lowers monthly payments on your federal student loans and shortens the debt forgiveness timeline.
WhiteHouse.gov said, “The government will reinvest the savings back into education by upgrading community colleges, increasing Pell Grants, and making it easier for responsible students to pay off their loans.”
4. People who can’t afford health care coverage can qualify for subsidies and tax credits.
Unemployed. Employed. Retired. The government said Americans whose income falls below a certain line will be eligible for subsidies and tax credits.
The Kaiser Family Foundation said that the bill will “limit availability of premium credits and cost-sharing subsidies through the Exchanges to U.S. citizens and legal immigrants who meet income limits.”
KFF is a non-profit organization that focuses on health issues.
WhiteHouse.gov said the bill provides tax credits for young adults to help them afford coverage in 2014.
3. It will be illegal to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions.
According to WhiteHouse.gov, this goes into effect in September for children and permanently for all other Americans in 2014.
But, there is help for those children who are uninsured now.
“A new program — known as a high-risk pool — will provide affordable insurance for Americans who are uninsured and have a pre-existing condition,” said HealthReform.gov. “This program will provide temporary protection for people with pre-existing conditions until 2014, when insurance companies can no longer deny you coverage based on your health.”
Also in September 2010, HealthReform.gov said preventative treatments will be free from co-pays and deductibles under health care reform.
The bill “requires new plans to cover prevention and wellness benefits at no charge by exempting these benefits from deductibles and other cost-sharing requirements,” according to WhiteHouse.gov. The bill also “invests in prevention and public health to encourage innovations in health care that prevent illness and disease before they require more costly treatment.”
2. Coverage does not have to change if you don’t want it to.
According to WhiteHouse.gov, you can keep your doctor. You can keep your insurance. You can still see specialists.
According to Families USA, “if you like the coverage you have now, you can keep it under health reform — and you and your family will have more protections.”
But, if you don’t like your current coverage, the government said there will be many options that you can opt into.
“No matter what happens, your family will have the choice of a quality, affordable insurance plan,” said FamiliesUSA.org.
1. You can stay on your parent’s coverage until you are 26-years-old.
Normally, Americans lose their coverage when they turn 18 unless they continue their education. Even then, once the ‘child’ graduates, they are dropped from their parent’s health care.
“Six months from now, insurers will be required to permit children to stay on family policies until age 26,” According to HealthReform.gov. “This applies to all plans in the individual market, new employer plans, and existing employer plans, unless your adult child has an offer of coverage through his or her employer.”
Adult children who will lose their parent’s insurance after graduation will be able to rejoin their parent’s insurance come September. The government said those who choose not to continue their education will also be covered.
“Both married and unmarried dependents qualify for this dependent coverage,” said HealthReform.gov. “Beginning in 2014, children up to age 26 can stay on their parent’s employer plan even if they have an offer of coverage through their employer.”
More from Health Care 101:
- Video: What students think about Health Care Reform:
Flagler students voiced their concerns on Health Care Reform. Kyle Rogers doesn’t want others to have pay for him. Jonathan Hooper fears universal health care. Ryan Palm thinks the U.S. is behind the curve.
- Locals weigh in on Health Care Reform:
Carol DiSalvo thinks the new Health Care Reform will be a welcome blessing to her and her husband. For many in St. Augustine, the newly passed reform is imposing long-awaited changes to the current health care system in the U.S. DiSalvo has been working in a small local bistro for the past two years.
- Opinion: New health care bill is a victory for corporate power
Back when Liberal Democrats actually had spines, President Franklin D. Roosevelt made a proposal during his final State of the Union address for a “Second Bill of Rights.” Roosevelt thought the civil liberties guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights could not by themselves give economic equality to the American people.
- Opinion: Health care is not a right; it’s a service
We have all heard President Obama say he thinks health care should be a right for every American. I don’t think the government should be in the business of mandating the purchase of any good or service.