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College students not so sure about Affordable Care Act

Updated: Tuesday, September 24 2013, 10:23 PM MDT
By: Melissa Gundersen
EL PASO, Texas -- Uninsured college students worry what the affordable care act will do to their bank accounts.

Emmanuel Gardea is a senior at University of Texas at El Paso and doesn't have health insurance.

"I can't afford it," said Gardea.

Walking around campus, KFOX14 found a handful of students in the same boat.

"Me and my mom have already sat down and looked at all the different plans that are coming out. So we're going to sit down decide to choose one," said Chris Christian.

Gardea, however, questions if The Affordable Care Act will help or hurt him.

"Obviously if you don't have one, there's a reason for it whether your employer can't provide it or you yourself can't afford it," said Gardea.

The Affordable Care Act requires everyone to be insured. For students whose parents are already insured, they can stay on that plan until they're 26.

If that's not the case, though, and a student doesn't get insurance, legislators said expect to pay fines.

Gardea said, while he can't afford coverage, he feels forced into a plan.

"I'll have no choice unless I get a job where my employer will provide it," said Gardea.

Legislators said there are loopholes for people like Gardea.

Legislators said uninsured people would not face penalties if they:

- are uninsured for less than three months of the year.
- are determined to have very low income and coverage is considered unaffordable.
- are not required to file a tax return because their income is too low.
- would qualify under the new income limits for Medicaid, but their state has chosen not to expand Medicaid eligibility.

At this point, Gardea says if he's exempt, he won't get any insurance.

"We're at an age where health for most of us isn't going to be an issue," said Gardea.

To calculate the cost of health insurance under the affordable care act, visit:  http://kff.org/interactive/subsidy-calculator/

Uninsured students aren't the only ones who will feel the effects though.

For anyone on a university health care plan, legislators said they may also see higher premiums starting Jan. 1, 2014.
College students not so sure about Affordable Care Act


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