Obamacare and College Students

Obamacare and College Students
  • Opening Intro -

    The Affordable Care Act was signed into law in 2010 and beginning on Oct. 1, 2013, Americans could review and buy health insurance through the marketplace.

    For college students, many will stay on their parents' plan until they turn 26.


Others may begin to shop for insurance while still others may opt out, choosing to pay a fine instead. There are several important dates and facts about what is commonly called Obamacare and how that mandate affects college students.

Parental Plans

Health insurance plans that cover children can keep them enrolled until they turn 26 years old. Children can remain on their parents’ plan even if they are married, not living with their parents or financially dependent upon them, are eligible to enroll in an employer’s plan or are attending school.

Details on how to enroll for a parent’s plan can be discovered through the employer or the insurance company. Families can sign up their eligible adult children through the new marketplace as well.

Individual Insurance Options

Not every college student will opt for their parent’s health care plan, choosing to buy insurance on their own. Like every other American, college students can purchase coverage through the health insurance marketplace.

The health insurance marketplace offers coverage option based on various “metallic” ratings. Platinum is the highest or premium plan followed by gold, silver, and bronze. Likely, college students will shop for a plan based on the lowest cost to hold down their own costs.

Join or be Fined

With some exceptions or exemptions, college students will have to pay a fee (fine) if they opt out of Obamacare. For 2014, that fee is $95 or 1 percent of income per individual, whichever is higher. That amount increases to $695 per year or 2.5 percent of income by 2016. Students must sign up by March 31, 2014, to avoid a fine. They should sign up by Dec. 15, 2013, to receive coverage that begins on Jan. 1, 2014.

Some college students will find themselves exempt from Obamacare, but only if they belong to an objecting religious group such as the Amish or Mennonites or are part of a Christian medical sharing community. Otherwise, even with the burden of their college education on their shoulders, the insurance mandate or fines loom.

And as for exemptions, know that Congress, the president and certain union members are not part of Obamacare. Nor are more than 1,200 companies that have been granted a waiver under this massive federally driven health care program. It may not seem fair, but it is the law or what our elected officials have chosen to impose on the rest of us while they keep their unique coverage.


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