Why Community Colleges Should Care about Obama Care

By Abigail Newcomer

Update (6/24/2013): The recorded webinar and webinar slides are now available. The webinar FAQs and brief are also available.

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—the health care reform law known commonly as “Obama Care”—individuals will have new insurance options starting January 1, 2014. The law will also make having health coverage a legal requirement.

Currently, young adults ages 18 to 34 are twice as likely to be uninsured as older adults. ACA will address that issue with new health coverage options for young adults, many of which will be open for enrollment beginning October 2013. But these individuals will only benefit if they know they are eligible and are able to enroll.

Because many of these individuals are students, community colleges are in a great position to help connect them to coverage.  Students at these institutions are disproportionately uninsured. And without health insurance, they risk medical or financial hardship that could prevent them from earning a college degree.

Community colleges also stand to benefit from ACA.  When covered by new no and low-cost health insurance options, students will be less likely to grapple with large, unexpected medical costs, increasing their chances of academic success. Connecting students to health coverage could advance the completion agenda.

As part of Benefits Access for College Completion, CLASP has teamed up with Young Invincibles to develop a new guide for community college leadership, faculty, and staff that shows how to connect their students to health coverage. This guide includes information about:

  • Student health insurance options;
  • How to apply;
  • Who can help; and
  • Key messages and outreach methods community colleges can use to inform students about their health insurance options.

On Wednesday, June 19, from 2:00 – 3:15 pm EDT, CLASP will host a webinar on the topic with Young Invincibles and Enroll America, two leading organizations raising awareness about the potential impact of ACA on community college students across the country. The webinar is aimed at community college leadership, faculty, and staff, but is open to anyone who would like to join. Register for the webinar here.