April 12, 2010

New Healthcare Plan Affects Students

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With the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act last month, U.S citizens will now be able to stay on their parent’s health insurance policies until they are 26. For college seniors, the question is how this will affect job searches, as different companies offer varying degrees of coverage.

Prof. Chris Collins, human resources, suggested that health care rarely affects seniors in their job search, at the same time asking, “Does it push more students to larger companies or smaller, entrepreneurial companies without benefits?”

Collins said that most students who work at big companies next year will see minimal differences between the healthcare plans different employers offer. However, students may be discouraged from working at smaller companies that cannot afford healthcare coverage.

For some students, healthcare is a crucial factor when deciding where to apply for jobs and accept job offers.

“It was an important factor in my decision making process because I visit the doctor often,” Nancy Moy ’10 said in an e-mail. “Health is really important to me. My family has a history of cancers and heart disease so I make an effort to see the doctor at least twice a year and if anything were to come up, I want to know that I will be covered.   In my case, I didn’t have to worry much about the type of benefits offered because I will be working for a company that offers one of the best healthcare packages in the industry.”

In light of the new health care bill passing, Moy conceded that it probably would have been beneficial for her to stay on her parents’ policy for one or two more years, “just so I could do some more research on important health care decisions [such as] what doctors to choose, what type of health plan … because I am moving to a new area that I am not familiar with.”

Zachary Bergman ’10 is currently on the hunt for a job that offers health benefits as well.

“In a time period where jobs are scarce and wages aren’t exactly strong, benefits like health care become all the more important. I am extremely happy the health care bill passed, but I do not want to rely on it as a means of social protection should something happen,” he said.

Emma Marshak ’10 said that after graduation, she is able to stay on her parent’s health insurance plan as long as she’s not a student and not claimed as an IRS dependent on her parent’s tax forms.

Noting a possible contradiction in her policy she said, “But if I’m making enough money so I’m not an IRS dependent, then I probably have [health care] benefits.”

Even though the the new policy allows people to stay on their parents’ policy until 26, some seniors are finding their parents pressuring them to be off their policy by the time they begin work next year.

Marshak said, “My mom said you can’t get a job without benefits.”

Even if students are not entirely sure how the law is going to effect their plans post-graduation, many students recognized the overall importance of the bill and what it means for others outside of the collegiate community.

While talking to a group of students earning their masters, Collins said, “All of them were aware of the legislation and had an opinion on it. .. It’s encouraging to see how many students were aware of its policies. Providing healthcare to everyone fits with the generation.”

Bergman confirmed Collins’ findings. He said, “To be frank, I was very caught up in the entire health care debate but never really examined how it would effect me personally. I was more concerned with those individuals who are presently uninsured and who will not be able to get access to health care in the near future.”

Original Author: Elizabeth Manapsal