Students have access to health insurance through Affordable Care Act

Kathleen Pizzo

Starting this month, the Affordable Care Act will allow many eligible college students to enroll in either no-cost public insurance or heavily discounted private insurance.

CSU Chancellor Timothy White addressed the Affordable Care Act in an informational video on the CSU website.

“CSU has partnered with Covered California to make sure across all of our campuses we are informed about the changes that are coming,” White said. “You will soon be seeing students on your campus that are helping to educate and enroll members of our community.”

The new government entity know as Covered California has become the online marketplace for affordable and quality health insurance.

Through Covered California, the public is allowed to enroll in a program that offers a free or low cost plan through Medi-Cal, or additional assistance that will help lower monthly premiums for private insurers.

White said CSU has set up a panel where students are able to enroll in Covered California.

The CSU Health Insurance Education Project was created to educate students about the new health insurance law and the opportunities it offers them.

CSU Director of Public Affairs Mike Uhlenkamp said approximately 25 percent of students do not have health care.

“With the law changing, there’s a huge opportunity for students,” Uhlenkamp said. “What we’re trying to do is outreach by working with people on campuses.”

Lara Falkenstein, campus coordinator for the CSU Health Insurance Education Project, is part of the initiative that advocates for the new law and educates students without health care.

Falkenstein’s work includes educational presentations in classrooms stressing the importance of health insurance.

“I feel like there are some students that have heard of the new law, but haven’t learned too much about it,” Falkenstein said. “Most of them want health care, it’s just so expensive.”

Liz Uniacke, 22, business major, said she would definitely sign up for the affordable health care plan if the opportunity was easily presented to her.

“I haven’t had health care insurance since I was a freshman in college,” Uniacke said. “My dad worked as a union employee for a construction company, but with the decline in work, his weekly hours did not qualify him to be a full time worker and his health insurance was cut.”

Uniacke did have access to the Wellness Center on campus, which offers limited health care for students, who pay for it through tuition.

Uniacke felt the frequent utilization of the health center by other students made it difficult to access.

“There is often weeks of waiting time to reserve an appointment to be seen,” Uniacke said. “There have been a handful of times that I have felt ill and probably should have seen a doctor, but could not get an appointment in adequate time at The Well.”

Falkenstein said while students have access to the limited health care, having insurance would make it cheaper in case of emergency.

Students can also learn more about how to enroll in the program on the Sac State Student Health and Counseling Services website, as well as on the CSU website.

“I think it is great that the campus is deciding to promote it,” Uniacke said. “A lot of students who do not keep up with local news may not know about the plan and what it has to offer, so having that information on campus would be beneficial.”