UPHELD: What the Supreme Court’s Healthcare Decision Means for College Students

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Today the Supreme Court upheld the individual health insurance mandate–the central provision of President Obama's Affordable Care Act in a 5-4 vote. So what does this mean for college students?

According to Forbes and The Wall Street Journal, the cost of student plans at universities could rise by as much as 1,112 percent. Because it's typically inexpensive to cover college students, many universities offer limited-benefit plans that only cover health expenses within a certain amount like $10,000. These plans are typically inexpensive because they have what's called a "payout-cap," and cost between $150 and $500 per year.

Following the Supreme Court ruling, however, capped insurance payouts with no longer be legal. In 2013-2014, caps are set at a minimum of $500,000 per year, and after 2014, they are banned completely. 

As a result, health insurance plans at universities will become much higher. For example, while the school-year premium cost $440 in 2011-2012 at the State University of NY in Plattsburgh, it will cost between $1,300 and $1,600 next year.

Similarly, costs are expected to go up from $245 per student to $2,507 at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, N.C, and from $165 to approximately $1,500 at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington state.

While some students are celebrating the Supreme Court decision, others are much more skeptical.

“As of right now, both of my parents are not employed, and it’s just been an added cost that I didn’t use once during the school year,” junior economics major at the University of Maryland Tchad Bruce said. “I’m sure I’m not the only one in this type of situation, and if prices increase it will just add stress to students like myself paying our way through college.”

Maria Minsker

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