Obama's health-care act upheld by Supreme Court, college students to see results
Published: Thursday, June 28, 2012
Updated: Thursday, June 28, 2012 20:06
In a 5-4 Supreme Court decision today, President Obama's Affordable Care Act was upheld as constitutional and will remain a law, with provisions in action or set to be enacted by 2014.
What does the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act mean for college students and recent graduates?
Connecticut has been at the forefront in providing health-care access to young adults, allowing certain dependents up to age 26 to be covered by their parents' insurance plans since January 2009.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) includes a provision, enacted in September 2010, that allows for dependents under 26 years old to stay on the health plans of their parents, regardless of health plan type, nationwide.
According to a survey by the Commonwealth Fund, an estimated 6.6 million Americans between the ages of 19 and 25 joined their parents' health-care plans in 2011 – a feat that would have been impossible prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act.
The Supreme Court's decision today means that the under 26 provision will remain a law, unless repealed.
Nearly two out of every five young adults aged 19 to 29 went without health insurance at some time in 2011 and more than one-third had medical bill problems or were paying off medical debt, according to the survey.
Although the provision helps many students, U.S. News reports that because some colleges do not accept outside insurances, not all college students will benefit from staying on their parents' plan if they visit an on-campus medical center. However, The University of Connecticut does accept outside insurances.
The act is favorable to students who use university-provided health insurance because, as mandated for all insurance companies, a larger percentage of premiums paid must now be used to provide medical care.
What does this act mean for Connecticut?
In Connecticut, about 11 percent (or 377,000) of state residents are uninsured, according to USA Today. Most of these people will be required to purchase health insurance as a result of the act.
Connecticut Health Investigative Team reports that “the Affordable Care Act has funneled $192 million in federal funds to implement the law ... as of June 2012.”
To institute the act, “Connecticut has hired staff and a board of directors to begin implementing health care exchanges and have them in place by the 2014 deadline set by the federal law,” according to USA Today. Exchanges are health care plans that provide opportunities for subsidized insurance costs and are intended as a bargaining tool for health care purchasers.
The Day of New London reports that 137,452 Connecticut consumers could receive up to $12.9 million in rebates from insurers that spent too much money on administrative costs rather than on health care.
Other key elements of PPACA include a mandate that most individuals will now be required to purchase health insurance by 2014 to avoid a tax and that health insurance companies can no longer reject clients based on pre-existing health conditions. Currently, insurance companies cannot deny coverage to people under age 19, but the act will extend this immunity to include adults.
The mandate applies to all except members of certain religious sects, Native Americans, undocumented immigrants and people whose incomes are so low they don't need to file taxes. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation Analysis, about 24 million Americans will be exempt from the the “individual mandate.”
Justices said that under existing laws, a tax on those who do not purchase health insurance is constitutional but ruled that the federal government cannot take away existing Medicaid funding for states that do not participate in the act's expansion for Medicaid eligibility.