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What Young People Should Know About The Health Care Exchange

The health insurance options for younger people have significantly changed under the Affordable Care Act.

iu students

Photo: WFIU/WTIU News

Groups are trying to market the health care exchange to students, who are less likely to need a large amount of medical attention.

A statewide education campaign aimed at getting students to sign up for insurance through the health care exchanges launched today at Indiana University.

Young people are the focus of many health exchange marketing campaigns because if only the sickest Americans sign up through the marketplace, the system will not be sustainable.

Today’s rally focused on giving students tips to find insurance that would work with their budgets.

Here’s what rally organizers emphasized:

  • Look into ongoing options such as staying on your parents plan until you turn 26 or a student health plan.
  • Checkout new options at the Health Care Marketplace online at http://www.healthcare.gov or by phone on (800) 318 2596.
  • Find out about financial help when you apply.
  • Compare plans side-by-side in plain language online.
  • Don’t let insurance companies turn you away because of pre-existing conditions.
  • Get expert help comparing plans and signing up.
  • Find out more in the online guide, So, You Need Health Insurance, Now What?
  • Get involved in the campaign as a volunteer or intern to help get the word out on campus.

Duane Thompson, the health care campaign coordinator for INPIRG, just paid off a bill of about $2,200 which he incurred while he was an undergrad at IU.

“Had there been a marketplace intact then, I might have chose better options to help prepare for that event then,” he says, adding that many students will find themselves uninsured at some point in their lives—likely after they are older than 25 and no longer qualify to be on their parents’ plan but do not yet have a job that offers health insurance.

Through the Affordable Care Act, students can now buy a specific type of insurance if they are less than 30 years old called Catastrophic Insurance, which only kicks in when a person finds themselves in a medical emergency.

“It’s important for young people to know because their options have really changed quite a bit, through the Affordable Care Act,” Seth Freedman, an assistant Professor at the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs, says.

The enrollment date opened October 1 and will remain open till March 31. But if people want insurance beginning January 1, they must sign up before December 15.

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