What College Students Should Know About Obamacare

If you’ve been paying any attention (for many, probably not) the past few years, you should already know that the government passed a health care plan in 2010 known as the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. In fact, disputes over the funding of Obamacare is one of the main reasons for the government shutdown that took place. Beginning in 2014, EVERYONE will be required to have health coverage. So how does this affect you?

For many students, insurance is either carried by their parents or provided by the school (costs are added to your total expenses). If you’re neither covered by your parents nor carry insurance through the college,  though your employer, or through any other means, you’ll be required to pay a tax penalty until you get one. An option available to you, which the government opened up October 1st, is one of the federal insurance plans. There’s four of them– Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum– and each one differs from the the other by how much your premium will be and how much you’ll pay out of pocket at the doctor’s office. The Bronze plan starts off at the lowest premium, and for each on you go up, the premium gets higher while the out-of-pocket expenses get lower. But how much will you really be paying?

It’s hard to say how much it will really cost, since the monthly premiums all depends on state, individual’s age, income level, and ethnicity; but if anything, it’s very likely you’ll be paying more than the projected $328.  You’ll gain tax credit back at the end of the year, but again, how much you receive will depend on the aforementioned factors. It’s also hard to say how much health coverage will cost from private insurance companies as well; many of them will be subsidized, so their rates will likely be equal to or lower than the average if they want to compete with the federal rates, but I’m really only speculating here. If you check other news sources, you’ll see projections as much as half your income going towards taxes and health coverage; not saying they’re right or wrong, but it’s something you may want to be prepared for in the near future.

All in all, it may just be cheaper to opt out of health coverage altogether and pay the penalty. But the next time you wind up in the hospital and come  out with a bill of $15,000, you may be wishing you had something to help cover those expenses.