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Groups inform students about health care law

Parents’ coverage provided to age 26

The class of 2011 will be facing one more challenge upon graduation — transitioning to post-graduate health insurance.

This year’s graduates will be the first to immediately benefit from the provision that allows them to remain on their parents’ health insurance plans until age 26.

It is now up to the government and to advocacy agencies to ensure students are aware of their health insurance options before they graduate.

In a conference call for college journalists Friday, these agencies unveiled some of the newly available resources for graduating students.

The conference call featured the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and the resources were jointly presented by several national advocacy groups.

“If you just haven’t purchased insurance before, you might not be familiar,” said Jen Mishory, deputy director for the Young Invincibles, a national advocacy group for young adults.

The group launched its health insurance graduation toolkit Friday, she said.

The toolkit includes flyers instructing graduating seniors how to stay on their parents’ insurance plans.

“It’s free and a great resource for students who are graduating,” Mishory said.

“We actually partnered with about 60 state and national groups to get the word out,” she said.

There is an unfulfilled need on college campuses to raise awareness of post-graduate health care options.

“Young people often have an exit interview for student loans but not on what to do with health insurance and health care,” Mishory said.

“That type of service doesn’t necessarily exist on a lot of campuses.”

As health care reform provisions continue to go into effect, there will be increasing numbers of changes, especially by 2014, said Tobin Van Ostern, the network associate for Campus Progress, an advocacy group.

The health care reform provision that allows students to remain on their parents’ insurance plans until age 26 is especially important in the current job market, said graduating UNC senior Lee Storrow.

“This gives me flexibility to decide what I need to do,” he said.

“The Democrats need to do a better job of selling the health insurance bill as a bill that really benefits everyone in America,” Storrow said.

The UNC chapter of the Roosevelt Institute, a national student policy center, is working to raise awareness about health insurance on campus by hosting public panel discussions, said Adam Jutha, director of the health policy center for the UNC chapter.

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