ACA Gives More Options To Students

BY TRISHA SAKHUJA
Staff Writer

Before President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, many young adults were being cut out of their parents’ health plan policies because of their age.

Students and young adults have more options for healthcare through the recently-opened marketplace, as part of the Affordable Care Act.

Students and young adults have more options for healthcare through the recently-opened marketplace, as part of the Affordable Care Act.

One of the most appealing aspects of the law is addressing the health insurance problems of young adults because it allows adult children to remain on their parents’ health insurance up to the age of 26.

More so, beginning in 2014, New York law gives the option to permit young adults to remain on their parents’ policies until their 29th birthday.

That includes nearly all young people, even if they are married, financially independent and no longer living with their parents. Also, young adults can opt to stick with their parents’ plan instead of their employers.

Deepti Sakaria, 26, a graduate student in the Physician Assistant program St. John’s University, said she previously thought she would have to find a health coverage plan, but the ACA helps her because she is a graduate student with a lot of loans and is able to stay under her parent’s plan.

Even though Melissa Molfetas, 26, a third-year law student concentrating in health law at CUNY School of Law, has been studying the ACA since September, she said some parts of the law are still confusing for her to understand.

“Not only is it difficult to understand, but there is a lot of banter with politicians and media outlets,” Molfetas said.

She said this leads to people forming their opinions about the plan without actually learning about the ACA for themselves.

“All we know is, it is bad, but we don’t know why it’s bad,” Molfetas said. “For me, the law has become a political battle about money, whether or not it is the government’s function to reimburse people for healthcare.”

Mofletas and Nick Widzowski, 28, also a third-year law student and the President of CUNY Law Democrats, want to hold a healthcare seminar in the near future to educate their peers about the new options they have.

Currently, Molfetas is insured through her parent’s health coverage and her goal is to qualify for insurance through her future employer, but if that does not happen, she said, “Thank God there is a website I can go to now to shop for health insurance.”

Young adults up to the age of 30 will have the option to buy an insurance plan that will cover only minimal services. According to the HealthCare.gov website, the “catastrophic” plan’s premium is much lower than the other the four precious-metal plans – Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum – but it covers the 10 essential health benefits and three annual primary care visits at no cost. It is known as the safety net coverage plan in case you have an accident or a serious illness.

“We know that most young people consider themselves invincible, so if they want to avoid paying the fee of not buying into the four-tier plan, just go to ‘catastrophic,’” Molfetas said.

Reach Trisha Sakhuja at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, tsakhuja@queenstribune.com, or @Tsakhuja13.