Affordable Care Act may cost students extra cash for health care

Austin Metz

In the wake of the passing of President Barack Obama’s new healthcare reform bill, the Affordable Care Act, Student Assurance Services, GVSU’s insurance provider, is changing its insurance policies to meet the new rules and regulations needed to provide students with proper insurance.

“The 2011-2012 policy was a $50,000 policy and the 2012-2013 policy is a $100,000 policy,” said Account Manager for Student Assurance Services Candy Mears. “The previous plan had no preventative or wellness care and the new plan is in line with the new Obamacare.”

Since the new healthcare reform will be providing students with increased coverage, students who choose to purchase insurance through Student Assurance Services should expect an increase in cost in the coming years.

The overall cost of the school’s optional insurance for GVSU students for the 2011-2012 school year totaled $680.00 annually for students under the age of 30 with distribution dates for that money split up between the fall, winter, and summer semesters. For the 2012-2013 school year, students under the age of 26 will be paying $1,052 a year with the price for each semester increasing close to 50 percent. The cost per dependent will also increase over 100 percent.

Mears explained that next year’s policy would increase to a $500,000 policy with the following year moving to an unlimited policy.

“In the future, pre-existing illnesses will be covered,” Mears said. “Right now there is a 30-day waiting period. Students under GVSU’s insurance policy also do not have a network so you can go anywhere, anywhere in the world and receive treatment.”

Mears also said that in the past, no preventative and wellness care was covered and all changes are being made to cover the changes required to meet the new regulations of the new health care reform.

“The cost will most likely go up in the future but not as much as last year,” Mears said. “Essential services are now available with no deductible or co-pay.”

The Affordable Care Act will create change with how the public receives healthcare; including allowing women to have mammograms, domestic violence screenings, and birth control covered without a co-pay, requiring the public to sign up for insurance, forbidding insurance companies from charging higher premiums for people under 19 with pre-existing conditions, and allowing young people to stay on their parents insurance plans until 26 years of age among others.

Although changes will be coming with student insurance polices, students will find little to no change at the Kirkhof College of Nursing.

“Our programs were already transformational in regards to our current fragmented healthcare system that the healthcare reform is meant to address,” said Linda Scott, nursing professor and associate dean of graduate programs at KCON. “Our undergraduate and graduate programs are already innovative and developed to insure we prepare professional registered nurses both as generalists and advanced practicing nurses to meet the needs of healthcare that needs to be delivered in the future.”

For GVSU students who receive treatment through the Metro Health GVSU Campus Health Center, they can expect little to no change with service, as well.

“We accept all major insurance polices from within the state of Michigan and even some insurance policies from outside the state,” said Heather Rhodes, office manager at the Metro Health GVSU Campus Health Center. “There will be no real change because a lot of the students are already on their parents insurance. Those without insurance will still receive a 40 percent discount on services offered.”

Rhodes was clear that if students don’t have insurance, the center would try to work with students by setting up a payment plan and also providing students an estimated cost before they receive service. She also said that in order to help keep student medical bills low, the office will still carry a variety of pill samples that students can use.

“We do have samples for students so we try to help out that way with cost rather than writing a prescription,” Rhodes said. “I don’t want students to think we are a pharmacy but we do have heartburn medication, allergy medicine, and things like that.”

Also available to students is the Metro Health Allendale primary care office, which is two miles west of Grand GVSU. This location offers students X-rays, mammography, ultrasounds and other services now available under the new healthcare reform.

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