Free health care should be utilized by students

It’s safe to assume that a majority of students at Whitworth are between the ages of 18 and 24 and that they are covered by their parents’ health care plans or their parents have set up health care coverage for them for the duration of their college years. But what about the rest of the students who are not covered by their parents’ plan or whose parents do not have the resources to cover the cost of insurance? Scan 3

  Whitworth no longer provides insurance for students, nor makes it mandatory due to a host of reasons, such as the extravagant cost as well as forcing students to pay, even those who could not afford it, upwards of $2,000 dollars for coverage. While that is beneficial in regard to costs and maintaining students at Whitworth, not requiring health care coverage of some kind puts many students at risk and can cost them more money over the long run. A broken arm, which is covered by virtually all health insurance plans, can cost about $2,000 without insurance. If a person get sick, which most people do, and they need to see a doctor, a visit can cost upwards of $500. Add the price of antibiotics, which can be anywhere from $30 to $800 and you’re nearly at the cost of a year of health insurance without any government grants or assistance. Luckily, there are ways to reduce your cost of health insurance so you don’t end up saddled with more debt beyond student loans. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed in 2010, provides lower cost insurance for all Americans and even free insurance for those who qualify. While the PPACA has been demonised and ridiculed, it has provided relief for millions of Americans who could not have otherwise afforded health insurance and have had their health deteriorate because they did not have access to proper health care. Quite possibly the greatest thing about the PPACA is that many college students qualify for free or very low cost health insurance. Due to students’ low or virtually non-existent incomes, the PPACA allows for college students and others with low incomes to have health care coverage. Having health care coverage and reducing the cost of health care are not the only incentives to get insured, it also prevents you from getting penalized on your tax return. The penalty is either 2 percent of your total annual income or $325, whichever is higher. In the long run, having health insurance either through the Healthcare Marketplace, where you can find a wide variety of health care plans, or through your own research, saves you a great deal of money, time and grief. For more information about getting insured, visit www.healthcare.gov.

Shelby Harding

Guest Columnist

Contact Shelby Harding at sharding15@my.whitworth.edu

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