New healthcare options available

CHANGE Health & Wellness staff try to simplify Affordable Care Act for students.

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With healthcare reform on the way, many students are wondering what the changes are going to mean for them and what they should do about the changes.

To help combat confusion among UND students about the Affordable Care Act, the marketing team within the Health & Wellness Unit has created posters and brochures with a timeline, glossary of terms and a flowchart describing the process of searching for and signing up for health insurance.

As a result of the Affordable Care Act, all U.S. citizens will be required to have health insurance by January 1, 2014.

According to a poll from the Kaiser Health Foundation, over 50 percent of U.S. adults do not have enough information to make a decision about the new health care exchanges.

Many students also are uncertain about their options.

“Both students and parents alike have called us with questions,” Director of Student Health Services Michelle Eslinger-Schneider said. “We’ve listened to feedback and launched a resource to aid students with this transition.”

The marketing team said they hope the resources they’ve created will help aid in this transition.

“The chart walks through important dates and how to seek in-network treatment,” Eslinger-Schneider said. “The Marketplace has tools that allow consumers to pick and choose their preferred level of plan benefits and deductible level.”

In-network providers are those facilities that are enrolled on a health plan’s network and providers who have negotiated a discount, according to the brochure.

Students also have the option of subscribing to the Student Health Insurance policy endorsed by the North Dakota University System. Proposals are being evaluated by a sub-committee consisting of higher education institutions and officials throughout the state.

Health insurance plans can be viewed and compared on the online Marketplace at healhcare.gov. Users can enroll by setting up an account and filling out an online application. Final price quotes are based on individual circumstances and are available after completing a Marketplace application.

The online application hasn’t worked perfectly, though. There has been a significant amount of glitches, delays and crashes on the website because of the high volume of traffic. This affected customers all around the country, including 29-year-old UND student Kenneth Rocheleau.

“I tried, just to see what plans I qualify for, and I kept getting an error message,” Rocheleau said.

According to the university’s website, most students have the option to stay on their family’s insurance plan until they turn 26. The only other students required by the state of North Dakota to purchase insurance are international students and student athletes.

For those who do purchase insurance, the NDUS is working with potential insurers to create a plan catered to a college budget and lifestyle.

“There are some affordable (insurance plans) for students, and there are plenty of resources available to help with the transition,” NDUS Director of Articulation and Transfer Lisa Johnson said. “I think it’s benefited students by raising limits on the maximum amount of coverage.”

Johnson predicts most domestic students who elect to purchase health insurance through the Marketplace will qualify for government subsidies based on their current level of personal income.

Contraceptive birth control services, physicals, and flu shots are covered 100 percent; so are sports-related injuries for student athletes.

Any student who is under age 65 and enrolled in at least seven undergraduate credits or three graduate credits can sign up at studentbluend.com.

Jaye Millspaugh is the multimedia editor of The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].

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