The majority of the student population is familiar with the term “Obamacare,” but outside of what they hear from their peers and family, most don’t know any details about the act and what it actually does.

The Center for Civic Engagement recently posted a link to the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, to the Pacific website. The link leads to a guide published by the United States Public Interest Research Group which offers a simple handbook, explaining the health care system and how it affects individuals.

“By making the law more accessible, confusion will hopefully be reduced and a more streamlined process will ensue to make for a smooth transition, specifically for students and other young people,” said Office Assistant for the Center of Civic Engagement, senior Jorden Kronen.

The U.S. PIRG condensed the 2,000-page law book about the Affordable Health Care Act into a webpage readable in less than five minutes, utilizing an ample education fund.

“Honestly, I know very little about the health care system,” said junior Vanessa Yee. “I wish I knew more but I just don’t understand it.”

For students like Yee, the online handbook stresses several strong changes to the health care system, as well as advice and resources concerning getting insurance for the first time. One of the most stressed changes in the Affordable Health Care Act is health insurance companies can no longer deny coverage or raise rates due to pre-existing health conditions, effective Jan. 2014.

Sophomore Katie Tougas said she knew insurance companies used to be able to deny coverage but had no idea the inability to do so was a part of the Affordable Health Care Act before now. She said the change makes her feel more protected and she said students should be more educated about it.

The site also stresses the use of the Health Insurance Market Place, a resource newly offered as of Oct. 2013 that helps customers compare options, find out about financial help, and sign up for coverage.

Junior Amy Mauhugh said she doesn’t think students really care about the health care system because they are covered by their parents’ insurance plans. She said the Affordable Health Care Act doesn’t directly affect students so it’s not relevant.

According to the online guide, as long as a family has a health insurance plan they can cover their children until they are 26 years old. After that point, they must obtain their own health insurance.

For many students, a few-year cushion sits between them before they reach the point of having to fend for themselves concerning insurance. Tougas said she wants to be more educated because it will directly affect her in the near future.

For students interested in learning more about the Affordable Health Care Act and how to look for insurance the smart way, they can find a link to the site by searching ‘Obamacare: User Friendly Handbook’ on the Pacific website.


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