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Healthcare experts measure the pros and cons of the Affordable Healthcare Act on students

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The Affordable Care Act will benefit college students by allowing coverage under their parents until age 26, providing free preventative services, covering pre-existing conditions and offering more affordable care.

Nursing professor Brenda Reed and her students said in a class discussion that this new law would be beneficial to students at TCU. 

“The new law is an asset for students here at TCU and across the nation,” Reed wrote in an email. “The Affordable Care Act allows students and young adults to remain on their parents’ health insurance until the age of 26. This is extremely helpful due to the fact that insurance is generally very expensive, and many students cannot work full time or have access to benefits like health care insurance.”

The law will make it easier and more inexpensive for young adults to obtain health insurance coverage, according to WhiteHouse.gov.

Melissa Sherrod, also a nursing professor, said the Affordable Care Act is beneficial to the United States as a whole.

“The Affordable Care Act gives families the security they need and important benefits,” Sherrod said. “The law holds insurance companies accountable, gets rid of the worst insurance industry practices and puts patients first. It is also expanding young adults’ affordable options for health insurance.”

The plan, according to the White House website, allows young adults to join or stay on their parent’s plan if they are married, not living with their parents, attending school, not financially dependent on their parents or ineligible to enroll in their employer’s plan.

The law's preventative care provision also applies directly to college students. Under the ACA, preventative services, such as flu shots, HIV and cancer screenings, contraceptive counseling and FDA-approved birth control are free. As of Aug. 1, women were fully covered for services such as breast cancer mammography screenings, contraception, Hepatitis B screenings, HIV screening and counseling and more, according to WhiteHouse.gov.

Also, starting in 2014, health insurers will not be allowed to discriminate against anyone due to pre-existing conditions, according to the White House website. 

People who have been uninsured for six months and cannot buy private insurance because of a pre-existing condition may join the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan. Under this new law, no insurance plan can deny coverage to anyone under the age of 19 with a pre-existing condition.

Then, there's the 80/20 rule, which requires that policies must spend at least 80 percent of premiums—the total cost of an option—on direct medical care if selling to individuals or small groups. In a big group of about 50 or more employees, the policy must spend 85 percent of premiums on care.

Reed said her students were divided in their opinions regarding the Affordable Care Act.

“It is the general consensus that even though the United States is one of the richest nations, we have one of the worst health care systems in the nation,” Reed said. “The United States spends approximately 17 percent of our Gross Domestic Product on health care and does not cover all citizens. We could learn from other countries and adapt the best method for health care by overhauling our system.”

At the TCU Health Center, mandates of the Affordable Care Act were incorporated in the student health insurance plan. According to the TCU Health Center, preventive care, when provided at the Health Center or by an off-campus Aetna Network provider, is covered at 100 percent with no deductible.

This preventative care, according to the TCU Health Center, includes immunizations (tetanus, Hepatitis A and B, MMR, HPV, Flu vaccine, etc.), a routine physical exam, a routine eye exam, a well-woman exam, routine prostate cancer screening, routine colorectal cancer screening, and more. Also, The Student Health Insurance Prescription Drug Benefit has been raised to $100,000 per Plan Year in response to the Affordable Care Act.

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