Health insurance coverage has been a headache for many students who feel they cannot afford it. To help alleviate those worries, Weber State University hosted five different health insurance carriers in the Shepherd Union Atrium on Tuesday.
Representatives of the carriers worked to increase awareness about the health insurance options available to students. Attendees had the opportunity to have one-on-one discussions with various health care entities.
Elizabeth Rias, a sophomore majoring in communications, said she currently doesn’t have insurance due to the expense.
“I really want to sign up for insurance, but I have to find a plan I can manage financially.”
The companies represented at the fair were Altius, Arches Health Plan, Humana, Molina Health Care and Select Health.
Representatives from Select Health said students should have an open mind when it comes to health care, and to remember that students can remain on their parents’ insurance until their 26th birthdays. This is in effect even if students are married.
For students 26 and older, options for coverage are varied. The first place to start an inquiry about insurance is at www.healthcare.gov. Students may also call the hotline at 1-800-318-2596 to speak to a representative over the phone. On the website, students can put in their health and personal information, which will determine eligibility for specific health plans.
Currently, the federal government offers a couple of cost-reducing options. Advanced Premium Tax Credit can help lower monthly costs. This can be paid throughout the year to help the holder pay for insurance, or can be claimed on taxes.
Cost-Sharing Reduction is a discount to help pay for out-of-pocket deductible expenses. Some may qualify to have the federal government pay for portions of their deductibles.
A health center is available on both the Ogden and Davis WSU campuses. These centers are available to all registered students with current student ID. In addition to filling discounted pharmacy prescriptions, the centers offer several other services for students including disease prevention, health promotion and physical examinations.
The Weber-Morgan Health Department is another option for those struggling with health care costs. The clinic offers services such as immunizations, cancer screenings and blood pressure screenings. The cost of services depends on a patient’s family size your income.
Open enrollment for 2014 health insurance coverage will end on March 31. President Barack Obama has encouraged all U.S. citizens to acquire health insurance. At the annual conference of the American Medical Association in 2009, Obama emphasized that coverage is a priority and can increase the wellbeing of those insured.
“Health care is the single most important thing we can do for Americans’ long-term fiscal health,” Obama said. “That is a fact.”