Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor

January 26, 2017

Likely Repeal of Affordable Care Act Leaves Gannett Uncertain About Birth Control, Student Insurance

Print More

For Natalie Brown ’18, the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 creates a personal uncertainty, and she’s not alone.

Valerie Lyon, director of business and finance at Gannett Health Services, and Craig McAllister, director of Cornell’s Office of Risk Management, also remain uncertain of the future of the Student Health Plan following a likely repeal of the ACA under President Donald Trump.

“Everything we’re saying is speculation, at this point,” McAllister said. “We know there is going to be change, but we don’t know what any of the changes are going to be.”

When asked about any possible changes in coverage of the Student Health Plan — particularly of the Affordable Care Act mandate to eliminate copays for birth control — McAllister remained uncertain.

“Prior to [the Affordable Care Act], birth control was treated as any other prescription drug, and so there were copays,” he said. “That’s something we would have to evaluate.”

Brown was particularly concerned about access to birth control.

“Many of my friends get their contraceptives from Gannett, and a lack of availability would be a big issue,” she said.

When asked about any potential changes in cost, McAllister remained uncertain, but said “the cost to administer the [Student Health] Plan might change slightly.”

Brown also said she hoped the costs and coverage of the Student Health Plan remained the same. She is currently on the Affordable Care Act for her insurance coverage and was unsure of her future plans.

“[Going on the Student Health Plan] is an option I would consider,” she said, “But I would probably look for something more long-term.”

However, McAllister said there were many regulatory associations outside of the Affordable Care Act that existed to ensure minimum standards for coverage.

“Cornell is operated under the American College Health Association guidelines and their recommendations for student health as well as model language from New York State,” he said.

McAllister and Lyon added that President Trump’s executive order, which allows the Department of Health and Human Services to weaken regulations that impose financial burden, changed nothing about the way they regulated the Student Health Plan.

“[The executive order] doesn’t change the law at all,” McAllister said, “We’re regulated by New York State, so any of the federal changes, until New York State changes the law, we won’t see [any changes].”

Despite all the speculation, Lyon said there would always be a Student Health Plan, adding that it was a university requirement since 1974.