Students cannot afford Obamacare- Literally (College costs enough)!


Students across the country are cringing as the new medical insurance law’s mandates eliminate the affordable policies they previously enjoyed, imposing a new financial burden.

“If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free. ” –P.J. O’Rourke, 1993

1903. Is that a year? No, that’s 1,903%, which is how much medical premiums for students have increased at Louisiana’s Nicholls State University this year, thanks to a partial implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

In March of 2010, President Obama signed what is now popularly termed “Obamacare” into law. Much of the new health law depends on making younger, healthy people who don’t use medical care pay for older, sicker populations who do.

College and university students are now feeling the bite.

Up until last semester, basic medical coverage at Nicholls State cost students just $75.05 for two semesters plus the summer session. However, these basic, inexpensive, limited policies don’t meet the Affordable Care Act’s expansive requirements; they’re no longer permitted. Students are just one of many groups who cannot keep their old policies under the new law. Cost of a new policy? $1,503, a 1,903% increase.

The cost of this insurance policy for Nicholls State University Students is $576.00 for the fall 2012 semester, $576.00 for the spring 2013 semester, and $351.00 for the summer 2013 session. The reason for the increase in price is due to federal changes made to the minimum coverage amounts for health insurance.1

As illustrated in the table below, Nicholls’ situation is by no means unique—prices are going up at universities around the country, with more to come as Obamacare phases in. The current price hikes result from a new $100,000 minimum coverage requirement, but that cap increases again next year, then quickly rises to a requirement for unlimited coverage. Expect further premium increases.

Table 1 – Sample Price Hikes At Other Universities

Institution old premium new premium increase
Bethany CollegeLindsborg, Kan. 12 months, $445 over $2,000 [2] 349%
The State University of New York at Plattsburgh $440.00 $1,300 to $1,600 [2] 340%
North Carolina public universities $920, two semesters $1,418, two semesters [3] 54%
Lenoir-Rhyne University Hickory, N.C. $245 per year $2,507 per year [4] 923%
University of Puget Sound Tacoma, Wash. $165 a year $1,500 to $2,000 [4] 809-1,112%
Nicholls State University, Louisiana $75.05 per year $1,503 per year [1] 1,903%

Points to Ponder
  o The President said you could keep your policy. Students can’t.
  o The President said it would cost less.  It costs more.
  o This increase  more than cancels President Obama’s Pell grant increases, making it harder to afford school. So, what the president has given with one hand, he more than retakes with the other.
  o Obamacare is designed to get money from people who won’t use it, to pay for those who will. This burden falls heavily on young healthy people.

“But I don’t think we know yet what the impact will be until the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented.”
—UNC President Tom Ross3


[1] Nicholls State University website (page visited 9/29/2012)

[2] Big Changes in College Health Plans, Louise Radnofsky, The Wall Street Journal, 6/4/2012

[3] In North Carolina, student insurance costs rise under Obamacare, Peter Hamby, CNN, Sept.5, 2012

[4] Obamacare Increases Costs of College Health Plans by as Much as 1,112%, Avik Roy, Forbes, 6/5/2012

Resource – How Obamacare Dramatically Increases The Cost of Insurance for Young Workers, Avik Roy, Forbes, 3/22/2012

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