?$€ Economic Sense ?$€: The Cost of Obamacare

John Rapisdardi

Health insurance is somewhat of an abstract concept to most students. As a result, elements of the American Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), such as the “extension of dependent coverage” or the “employer mandate,” might seem foreign. However, students should consider the content of this law and how it compares to other insurance options in terms of its potential cost savings.

The debate regarding Obamacare does not seem significant to some students because they are already covered under their parents’ healthcare plans. However, it is worth noting that Obamacare “expands dependent coverage” meaning that students can piggy-back on their parents’ healthcare plans until they are 26.

It is hard to estimate the number of students utilizing their parent’s employer coverage but, given that 41.6 percent of Colgate students receive financial aid, let’s assume, for the sake of this article, that at least a quarter of students on aid (10.6 percent of the student body) are not covered by their parents and are enrolled in Colgate’s plan offered by Gallagher-Koster.

The Gallagher-Koster student plan costs $2,530 per year, whereas a comparable New York Obamacare plan costs about $1,900 annually. Students using Obamacare would have an out of pocket expense limit of $6,350, while the Gallagher-Koster plan’s limit is $10,000. With regard to deductibles, Gallagher-Koster’s plan is also superior (deductibles refer to the amount of money one has to pay out of pocket before insurance will begin providing coverage). The Gallagher-Koster plan only requires students to spend $100 before they kick in and pay for a student’s coverage whereas Obamacare coverage would not start until a student had paid over $3,000 for uncovered costs.

While the Gallagher-Koster plan offers a cheaper deductible and shields students from spending their own money on healthcare, this does not mean that Obamacare is completely inferior or that its very existence in itself is wasteful. Instead, the existence of the plan offers the consumer choice (consider a scenario where you would have to shop for insurance without Colgate’s help).

The Gallagher-Koster plan is remarkably affordable compared to any plan that would be available through a private insurer. Additionally, the Gallagher-Koster plan might not meet the demands of a particular student who would prefer to have more coverage for out of pocket expenses; in this area the Obamacare plan would be superior. Lastly, the Gallagher-Koster plan is not a solution for an entire family, but instead only for students enrolled at Colgate.

If you think choice and a marketplace where an individual can buy healthcare seems like a Republican idea, you are correct: The Heritage Foundation, a popular Republican think tank, proposed it.

The Heritage Foundation has held strong influence over Republicans and represents a coalition of Republicans that opposes the “Employment Non-Discrimination Act” because of its recognition of gay and lesbian workers. The foundations of Obamacare were also first championed by Mitt Romney in Massachusetts, in what is now commonly known as “Romneycare.”

You can say what you want about the way President Obama passed Obamacare, but as Speaker of the House John Boener said, “it is the law of the land.” The American Affordable Care Act was validated by the House of Representatives, the Senate, the Supreme Court and the President himself.

Instead of regretting history and attempting to sabotage the United States government, Republicans and Democrats ought to engage in more thoughtful dialogue about the law that has roots in both parties.

A more effective implementation of the law would benefit students seeking coverage outside of Colgate’s Gallagher-Koster plan, as well as students who are preparing to exit the Colgate bubble and purchase insurance after graduating.

Contact John Rapisardi at [email protected]