Ramapo College is no longer offering health insurance to its students, according to an official Ramapo College announcement made over the summer. This announcement was made in light of the state legislature’s decision to sign off on an addition to Title 18A, which no longer requires students to be covered as of the Fall 2014 semester.
“It was the intention of both the Legislature and the governor to enable students to select their own health plans rather than have plans selected by the school,” the Bursar’s Office Web page explained.
According to statistics provided by Stephen Hudik, the associate vice president for communications and public relations, the majority of students at Ramapo College did not use the College’s insurance even before the legislature’s decision. A reported 86 percent of the approximately 4,900 full-time students waived the charge to purchase Ramapo’s insurance carrier, United Healthcare. That left only 14 percent of students who actually did use the insurance as of the Fall 2013 semester.
“Health insurance coverage is important for individuals of all ages as it is unpredictable as to when someone, regardless of age, may need medical services. The costs of these services, as affirmed by numerous surveys and studies, is often very expensive. Health care coverage helps to cover many services and provide access. The insurance marketplace created through the Affordable Health Care Act is certainly one option for coverage. However, many students are covered by a parent’s policy up to age 26,” Hudik said.
For students who already had insurance, mostly concerned with getting Ramapo’s carrier off their bill, the Fall 2014 change doesn’t seem to be much of an issue.
“I’m already under my parents’ insurance plan anyway, so the new policy does not really change anything for me,” sophomore Melissa Aiello said.
For students who relied on Ramapo’s health insurance, however, this could mean a change.
“I was effected. I rely on Medicaid for insurance, so instead of reapplying through the state of New Jersey, I applied using healthcare.gov. I still have the same type of insurance, though; it just originates from the federal government, instead of the state. The process was easier because it was online,” senior Danielle Corcione, said.
The Bursar’s website continues on to explain that although health insurance is no longer required by the college, the federal government has set up parameters: the Federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) states that all citizens who do not have insurance by January of 2014 will be fined, adding extra emphasis to the need to be covered.
Explaining the importance of coverage, Corcione put it simply: “Health insurance saves lives by providing coverage to those that otherwise wouldn't.”