UNF students are largely insured

Spinnaker

By Katie Gile

While the terms “health care” and “Obama care” are often thrown around on political programming, many UNF students are left scratching their heads, unaware of their options.

The Spinnaker conducted an informal survey of 300 students over the past week to find if UNF students think their health is worth the steep price of insurance.

Of those students surveyed, 78 percent are insured. This is nearly proportionate with the number of people in Florida with health insurance.

A large portion of the insured students are those included on plans with their parents and siblings.

While many of the students are content for it to remain that way, many were not aware of just how long they could remain on their parents’ plan.

Under the Affordable Care Act signed by President Obama, currently insured individuals may remain on their parents’ insurance plan until age 26, provided they’re not already “grandfathered” into a group plan or receiving insurance from an employer. This law allows young adults to remain on the plan even when they live away from home, are married, not financially dependent on their parents or when they are eligible to receive insurance at work, according to healthcare.gov.

The law, enacted Sept. 23, is news to many students.

Only 14.6 percent of surveyed students were aware of the 26-year-old age limit.

Erika Lakeford, a UNF health administration junior, belongs to that small percentage.

“Many of us can’t afford it on our own right now,” Lakeford said. “I’m thankful I can stay on my mom’s until I’m 26.”

While this extension of the age limit may be good news for the presently insured, 22 percent of the surveyed student population remain without health insurance, most often because of its price tag.

In fact, 100 percent of the students who reported a lack of insurance also answered that expense was the deciding factor for them.

Lakeford is concerned for her uninsured cohorts because of some of what she deems ill-advised activities in which they engage.

“[Being insured] is really important to me,” Lakeford said. “I’m always out doing crazy stuff. That’s being in college, being young.”

Billy Huddleston, a UNF exercise science freshman, agreed with Lakeford about the necessity of insurance and offered potential help for financially strapped students looking to get insured.

“When you’re in college away from parents’ guidance, you can get in trouble. Accidents can occur,” Huddleston said. “Look for grants and scholarships to help yourself afford it one way or the other.”

A small portion of students are insured through UNF, by way of Gallagher-Koster, a Massachusetts-based risk management company. The cost for each plan varies by student, and UNF offers a number of options to encourage students to purchase insurance.

Johon Kot, a UNF finance senior, is insured through the university. He said although he never has a reason to use his health insurance, it’s worth the payments on the off chance something were to happen to him.

For more information on obtaining health insurance through UNF, go to Student Health Services or check out gallagherkoster.com/floridausystem.