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Some College Students, Americans Unaware Of Upcoming Health Care Changes

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Beginning in January, all Americans will be required to have some form of health insurance or will pay a fine.

According to a recent Gallup poll, most Americans are unaware of the upcoming changes. Some are confused about health insurance in general.

Some University of Florida students aren’t informed about their current health insurance. UF student Sarah Beauchamp said she can’t explain what kind of insurance she has, while UF student Marylander Menard said she was unaware of the fine if she fails to get health insurance by the January 1 deadline.

The Florida Public Interest Research Group launched a campaign to educate young adults on the Affordable Care Act. Students gathered holding signs, offering tips with information that many people are unaware of, including the fact that insurance companies can’t turn someone away for pre-existing conditions.

Florida Public Interest Research Group representatives stressed the importance of being informed regardless of how healthy a person is. Dalyn Houser, a program associate from the research group, said it’s important for young people to realize they are not invincible. Anything can happen at any time.

Last year, 15 percent of Americans did not have health insurance, and this year, 20 percent of UF students are uninsured.

UF senior Jose Cardona said he fractured his leg in 2012 while playing basketball at the gym. Cardona had no way of paying his hospital bills, he said.

People can research health insurance plans online at HealthCare.gov. Some, including students, may qualify for financial assistance, but the average monthly cost for coverage under the act will be $328. People under the age of 26 can choose to be added to or remain on their parents’ insurance plan.

Those who choose to remain uninsured will face a fine. In 2014, that fine will either be $95 or 1 percent of a person’s income, depending on which is higher. In 2016, that fine will go up to 2.5 percent or $625 per adult.

About Katherine Kallergis

Katherine is a reporter who can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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