Nothing in life comes free — not even health coverage, which all University students are required to have.
Students on the University-provided insurance plan recently saw their premiums increase from $460.50 to $709 per semester as insurance providers expanded coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
On June 28, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld most of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. The bill — signed into law by President Barack Obama more than two years ago — seeks to expand insurance benefits to more than 30 million uninsured Americans.
While the bill’s implementation has been a long time in the making, its effects on student health insurance are just now being seen.
Per the federal mandate, insurance providers must expand coverage to include birth control and many preventative services — such as blood pressure tests and flu shots — at no deductible or co-pay.
Mary Covington, executive director for Campus Health Services, said although patients’ out-of-pocket expenses are reduced, insurance companies will continue to raise their rates if there is an increase in claims.
“We should all stay away from the word ‘free’ because nothing is ever free,” Covington said. “Eventually the cost of (benefits) will somehow be put into the cost of the policy as soon as they figure out how much it costs.”
Covington said it is too soon to tell if Campus Health Services will see an influx of student interest for birth control with the new provisions.
But she hopes students will make decisions about insurance plans based on medical needs and not solely on the expanded benefits offered.