According to student population data for the California State University system, more than 70 percent of CSU students and their families would be eligible for Medi-Cal or government subsidies under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the federal healthcare reform law commonly referred to as ObamaCare that requires that all legal U.S. residents have health insurance by Jan. 1, 2014 or pay a penalty.
To reach the students who may be impacted by the new law and help explain the new benefits and mandates to health insurance, California State University, Dominguez Hills is among a group of campuses selected to participate in an education and outreach project coordinated between California State University and CSU Los Angeles.
Through a $1.3 million grant award from Covered California, the insurance exchange agency in charge of implementing ACA in California, the CSU and CSU Los Angeles has launched the Health Insurance Education Project (HIEP), a key component of which is a student-lead outreach effort. Two students each from 15 of the 23 CSU campuses have been trained and certified to lead informational campaigns at their respective CSU campuses during ACA’s open enrollment period, which began this month and continues to the end of April.
Aaron Reyes, a senior majoring in health science with a concentration in health care management, and alumna Julie Daniels (Class of ’13, B.S., business, minor: health care management), are conducting the outreach at CSU Dominguez Hills, with support from the university’s Health Science Student Alliance, Pamela Krochalk, professor of health science, who is serving as their faculty adviser, and Associated Students, Inc.
Reyes asserted that reaching students now is crucial, not only so that they can serve as ambassadors to their families but also so that more significant benefits may result in the future.
“One of the provisions to the Affordable Care Act is preventative care to make sure years from now we don’t have the problem with chronic disease like we do now. If younger adults who are in college now make it a habit to have health insurance, and see their physicians when something happens, years from now they won’t have serious medical issues,” Reyes commented. “A lot of students are in college because they’ve made good choices. They want to do better in their life. Health insurance is another thing that they can do.”
Reyes and Daniels have already begun to give in-classroom presentations and will continue to do so throughout the fall semester and most of the spring semester. They have also organized three free information campuswide forums this month. Reyes encouraged everyone, but especially students and their families, to attend.
Covered California Fall Forums – California State University, Dominguez Hills
Tuesday, Oct. 22, 7 – 8 p.m., Claudia Hampton Lecture Hall, Welch Hall, room 165
Wednesday, Oct. 23, 4 – 5 p.m., Claudia Hampton Lecture Hall, Welch Hall, room 165
Thursday, Oct. 24, 10 – 11 a.m., Loker Student Union, Ballroom B
For more information on the CSU Health Insurance Education Project, visit www.calstate.edu/coveredca.