U Students Find Coverage Through Obamacare

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Obamacare is expanding in Utah and so are its political and health benefits among U students.

FEATURE STORY: U VOLUNTEER WORK LEAVES KIDS SMILING

President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law in March 2010, and the Supreme Court upheld it in June 2012. More commonly known as Obamacare, the purpose of the act is to provide more Americans with affordable healthcare. It targets young adults, many of whom are college students who don’t always get hired for jobs with health insurance.

One of the major tenets of the act is that young people can stay on their parents’ healthcare plans until they’re 26. Already more than three million such young adults are doing so for medical coverage.

Satin Tashnizi, a junior in political science and economics, said she has personally benefited from this.

“You used to have to work your way up to a point where you can afford healthcare,” she said. “The fact that you can stay on your parents’ healthcare until 26 gives you a lot of freedom in deciding what career act you want to do.”

To her, Obamacare has been an improvement to past health insurance options. She said it also takes into account those students with parents who cannot afford coverage by cutting healthcare costs.

“It has impacted many of my friends’ lives, even they don’t really know what Obamacare is,” Tashnizi said. “I know if my mother’s job did not provide me with insurance, I would have to rely on Obamacare. In the past, insurance would have been more difficult to obtain.”

She thinks there has been a direct increase of students who have healthcare due to the Affordable Care Act. Tashnizi first noticed this trend when she assisted in healthcare campaigning after Obama won the 2012 election. From discussion with her family and friends, she’s found that more people are now aware of Obamacare.

“I think the Affordable Care Act is something that really needs to be paid attention to,” she said.

Tashnizi said it’s critical that students pay more attention to Obamacare not only because it benefits students but also because of its political influences in Utah. Obama passed the bill for Obamacare, and it is now a federal mandate. That means every state can get federal money, allowing for the coverage of insurance for two to three years. After that, funding will be tax-payer driven.

“This is going to really impact our generation,” Tashnizi said. “Our generation doesn’t vote, and to think that there is such a massive healthcare overhaul right now, it is so important that the U’s students and students in general know what’s going on.”

Amanda Lynn, a graduate student in language and literature, has insurance through the U.

“Having health insurance is really nice, especially when you are a student and you have the option not to pay out of pocket,” she said.

Lynn believes insurance is something everyone should have.

Utah is attempting to take a step forward with Obamacare and health insurance through Governor Gary Herbert’s Healthy Utah plan, an alternative to Medicaid expansion.

Disclaimer: Satin Tashnizi is running in the current ASUU election as president for the Empower Party.

c.kannapel@chronicle.utah.edu

@chriswritine

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