Health care reform includes provisions for students

Young adults will be among the first to feel the effects of health care reform.  The Affordable Health Care Act allows young adults to stay on their parents’ health care plan until age 26 to help cover the one in three young adults who are currently uninsured.”There is no uninsured student at the University, but people’s lives continue after they’ve graduated,” philosophy professor Don Loeb said. “That’s when most young people don’t have insurance.”The act ensures affordable coverage by making millions of young adults eligible for tax credits, cracking down excessive insurance overhead costs, and it mandates insurance companies to not discriminate, according to the White House document, “Health Reform for Young Adults.” “Conceptually, the legislation has tried to use the system’s existing mechanisms — with some modifications — to expand and improve the vehicle for providing health care,” Jan Carney, UVM’s associate dean for Public Health, said.This legislation stops companies from using age and pre-existing conditions as reasons to deny insurance coverage. “The idea was to expand coverage to millions of people who have been under- or uninsured making health care more accessible to everyone,” Carney said.Beginning in 2014, most individuals will be required to have health insurance, either through their job, a private insurer or an affordable Health Benefit Exchange.”People are just now beginning to digest all the components,” Carney said. “It’s a large and complicated bill that’s taken months of debate and compromise to end up where it is now.”In addition to insurance, the bill has provisions for public health. “It’s pretty clear it’s an effort to improve public health, increase general health by making people aware of poor nutrition habits and hopefully provide preventative measures to avoid future problems,” Carney said.This is evident in the provision requiring fast-food restaurants to provide nutrition facts, which is clearly related to our country’s recent obesity awareness, Carney said.”We benefit from a society where people are healthy,” Loeb said.Large insurance companies will inevitably benefit from the increased pool of people needing health coverage; however, the hope is to gradually phase out co-pay, deductibles and other fiscal impediments to good health, according to the White House document.”This legislation hopes to provide a level of comfort,” Carney said, “so people don’t have to worry about the ‘what-ifs’ regarding their health.”