UO Students Learn About Health Insurance

EUGENE, Ore. — Students at the University of Oregon will be learning about the Affordable Care Act first hand come January.

That’s when all college students will be required to have health insurance. Only international students are required to have health insurance right now, not American students.

The health center on campus says the UO is one of two Pac-12 schools that don’t require insurance, but that will change in 2014.

Not all students at the UO have health insurance.

“(It) makes me feel nervous for them,” said UO student Connor Fitch.

Fitch is a senior, and he says he’s always had health insurance. He first had it under his parents’ plan and recently switched to the student plan through UO.

“I, myself, am probably a walking liability, so I think having insurance is really important. No one plans on getting hurt and when it happens, you don’t want to be stuck thousands of dollars in debt,” Fitch said.

Soon those without insurance will have to follow in his footsteps.

“The Affordable Care Act is requiring everyone to have coverage. That isn’t anything the university is mandating,” said Kellie Shelton, Health Insurance Coordinator.

The only students currently required to have health insurance are international students, which is mandated by the state.

“Our domestic students can purchase it if they want to if they’re not covered in their health plan through their parents, or if they’re over 26 and don’t have access to insurance through their health plan they can just purchase from us,” Shelton said.

“For me I haven’t noticed a difference between being on the student plan or my parents’ plan. I think the bigger concept is being insured,” Fitch said.

Shelton says come January when the requirement goes into effect, students don’t have to get insurance but will likely face a financial penalty through their taxes. Students like Fitch say whether it’s required or not, insurance is good to have.

“There was a period of a week I was uninsured, and it’s not that I’m nervous about breaking bones or anything like that but I just…having insurance is comforting,” Fitch said.

Shelton says the health center services will still be available to students with or without insurance. Students who go through the school won’t have to pay a deductible and the health center will handle billing. For more information, visit the health center website or CoverOregon.com.

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