Photos by Melissa Henrie
With less than two months remaining until the new year, many students are concerned about what 2014 will bring- including fines for lacking insurance. Under the Affordable Care Act, American citizens are required to have health insurance or else a fine is taken from their tax return. In 2014 the fine is $95 per adult and $47.50 per child, although by 2016 the penalty will be increased to $695 per adult and $347.50 per child.
To help uninsured students and faculty become aware of their health insurance options, UVU Human Resources has arranged the Federal Marketplace Information Fair. The fair will take place in the Hall of Flags on Nov. 21 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Representatives from six insurance companies will be there to answer questions about their medical plans and premiums, the healthcare.gov website, the federal subsidy and penalties for not having coverage.
Insurance representatives from Altius, Arches, BridgeSpan, Humana, Molina, and SelectHealth have been asked to attend because all six companies operate in Utah and participate in the online insurance marketplace. Because UVU only offers insurance to full-time faculty who work more than 30 hours a week, many students and part-time faculty have questions about health insurance.
“The human resources department wanted to be proactive about the concerns and questions both faculty and students have regarding health insurance. We asked the insurance vendors not to bring their highest-pitched salesmen because we want this to be an informational fair, so everyone can have their questions answered,” Judy Martindale, Director of Human Resources, said.
The Affordable Care Act has implemented many changes, some specifically affecting college students. The majority of students may already be aware of the first change, which allows children to stay on a parent’s insurance plan until they are 26. The Care Act also offers the opportunity to expand the eligibility for Medicaid, though Utah is currently leaning toward not participating.
Tax credits are also available regardless of whether or not you have ever filed a tax return. Individuals who make between about $15,000 and $46,000 annually are eligible for tax credits applied up-front to lower the cost of their monthly premiums. A family of four with an income of $31,000 to $94,000 will also qualify for tax credits to lower their premiums.
Catastrophic plans are now available to individuals as long as they are under 30 or unable to find coverage that is less than 8% of their monthly income. These plans have high deductibles but offer lower premiums and less coverage than the bronze insurance plans. Also, tax credits cannot be used on catastrophic plans.
“I would say it’s important to get health insurance not only because it’s the law but getting coverage before you need it is always a good thing. Even if you think you don’t need insurance, you should come to the information fair and just ask questions,” Human Resource Generalist Taylor Lockwood said.
If you have any questions about health insurance or the Affordable Care Act, consider attending the Health Insurance Information Fair.