Feature

Michelle Lujan-Grisham weighs in: What the Affordable Care Act means for students

Deborah Cooper , Guest Reporter | Photo Courtesy of http://www.donaanadempocrats.com

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U.S. Representative for the state of New Mexico, Michelle Lujan- Grisham said on October 1 people will be able to begin signing up for qual­ity affordable health care coverage through newly revamped health insur­ance marketplaces, and some of these changes affect students.

On January 1, cov­erage will begin for the people who have attained insurance, and many of the benefits of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will begin as well, Lujan-Grisham said.

Students and young adults can now stay on their parents’ health insurance until they are 26, so if a student doesn’t have a job right when they graduate, students can still be covered and have peace of mind, she said.

Before the health care law, insurance com­panies could remove enrolled children on their parents coverage at age 19, and some­times older for full-time students, according to the Dept. of Health and Human Services.

Radiology major, Victor Ruiz said it is nice that students get to stay on their parents insurance until the age of 26.

“At the same time I think President Obama hurt us in way because we have to choose a health­care plan, and if we don’t we get fined,” Ruiz said.

According to NPR. org, full-time or part-time students who are single, under the age of 65, and are not working full-time will most likely not trigger the require­ments to have health insurance, and the ACA fines will only affect individuals that make $10,000 per year or more.

On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and set into place an effort that will help ensure that all Americans have secure, stable, afford­able health insurance, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

In July, 2013, Congresswoman Michelle Lujan-Grisham met with President Obama to dis­cuss several matters, one being the ACA.

“CNM students can always contact my Albuquerque office at (505) 346-6781.We have people who can help stu­dents with any questions they may have. We want to be a resource to you,” Lujan-Grisham said.

Congresswoman Lujan-Grisham stated that The Affordable Care Act puts in place comprehen­sive reforms that improve access to affordable health coverage for everyone and protects consumers from abusive insurance com­pany practices.

“Student health plans are more comprehensive than ever. Because of the ACA, students who get insurance through their college will get more extensive coverage and will be able to get many preventive services for free,” she said.

According to the Dept. of Health and Human Services some of the free services include smoking cessation pro­grams, counseling on diet and weight loss, and counseling for depression or substance abuse.

Without the Affordable Care Act, the almost 400,000 uninsured New Mexicans would not be able to access affordable health coverage through the insurance marketplace, and insurance companies would be able to deny cov­erage to the nearly one in four New Mexicans with a pre-existing condition, she said.

“First, the Affordable Care Act is creating jobs in the health care indus­try itself. The Medicaid expansion alone will create an estimated 6,000 to 8,000 New Mexico jobs and pump more than $5 billion into our state’s economy,” she said.

The legislation pro­vides financial sup­port for the National Health Services Corps Student s-to-Service Loan Repayment Program according to Generation Progress.

Also, through the $12 million program, medi­cal school graduates who agree to work as primary care doctors in under­served communities are eligible to receive up to $120,000 to repay the outstanding loans states Generation Progress.

Along with that, the ACA also increases fed­eral investments in the Pell Grant program by $40 billion in an effort to ensure students can afford to pursue medical education, according to Generation Progress.

“Before the Affordable Care Act, if you had a job that offered health insur­ance, but wanted to leave that company to create a new business, you had a hard choice to make, because insurance on the individual market was incredibly expensive,” Lujan-Grisham said.

According to a July, 2013 press release, Lujan- Grisham announced that three community health centers in Albuquerque will receive $651,111 in grants to help enroll uninsured New Mexicans in new health coverage options only made avail­able by the Affordable Care Act.

“These grants will help New Mexicans understand their options and gain quality, afford­able coverage through our state’s health insur­ance marketplace,” Lujan- Grisham said.

Students can call the toll-free federal call center 24/7 at 1-800- 318-2596 to talk to a live person and get answers to all questions and The New Mexico insurance marketplace, NMHIX also has a website at nmhix.com, that has great information specifi­cally for New Mexicans, she said.

“The federal gov­ernment has a fantastic website, HealthCare.gov where you can learn about the rights and protections that the Affordable Care Act provides, find out how to sign up for quality, affordable health coverage, and find answers to any question you may have,” Lujan-Grisham said.

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