Students, Staff Can Enroll in ‘Obamacare’ until Mar. 31 - Humboldt State Now

Students, Staff Can Enroll in ‘Obamacare’ until Mar. 31

Open enrollment for the Affordable Health Care Act (ACA), nicknamed Obamacare, runs through Mar. 31, and Humboldt State students and parents can learn about the new law from both California State University and other state and federal sources.

In addition to the federal ACA website and the California site, California State University has opened a dedicated ACA website to assist staff and students at http://calstate.edu/coveredca.

Regarding outreach and education on the Humboldt State campus, a representative from United Way of the Wine Country will be tabling on the University Center Quad periodically during the next several weeks.
“I strongly encourage students and their families to acquaint themselves with the new law and the various coverage plans becoming available,” says HSU Student Health Center Director Mary VanCott. “The Center will provide as much up-to-date information as we have available, but it is not in charge of implementing or administering the law, which is a state and federal responsibility.”

California State University is the go-to source for the campus community for information. Under the law, many CSU students, families and staff will be eligible for either no-cost, public insurance under the newly expanded Medi-Cal program or heavily discounted (subsidized) private insurance purchased through a new government entity named Covered California. It is a new online ‘marketplace’ for health insurance at CoveredCA.com. Users can compare the benefits and costs of various insurance plans, calculate available financial assistance and purchase coverage.

Enrollment in Covered California began Oct. 1 and insurance under both Medi-Cal and Covered California will start January 1, 2014.

The CSU has established a Health Insurance Education Project (HIEP), a joint CSU/CSU-Los Angeles project to educate CSU students, their families and campus staffs about the new health insurance law and the opportunity it offers many in the CSU community to get affordable health insurance.

California State University’s health center directors, including VanCott, expect to receive periodic updates from the Chancellor’s Office on how to proceed with insurance billing, either in-house or through a contracted outside agency. “But for now,” VanCott said, “there is no reason to believe that payment of the campus health fee, which is included in student tuition, will end.”

Although open enrollment began Oct.1, plans purchased via health care exchanges will begin Jan.1. December 14 is the cutoff date if a subscriber wishes his or her plan to commence Jan.1.

Multiple plans range from a basic one known as ‘bronze’ to mid-range ‘silver’ and then to high-end ‘gold’ and ‘platinum.’ The federal coverage will also include an option for catastrophic care. All plans purchased through exchanges are required to furnish the same coverage benefits.