Tony Nefouse, owner of Nefouse and Associates said students should know these three parts when looking for a coverage plan:
A network is what determines what physicians you can see under your plan,Nefouse said. HMO provides you with the coverage for said doctors; however, you may only visit said doctors under your coverage. Nefouse emphasized that it's important to check which physicians are in a network - keeping location in mind.
Having a Certified Plan Under the Affordable Care Act.
The Healthcare Mandate requires everyone in America to have insurance, if they don't they will be taxed. Nefouse pointed out that students should double check their policy is certified before they purchase it.
Pay Your Premium AND Get Your Policy Number.
Nefouse said a lot of the time, people will sign up for a policy, pay their premium and think everything is ok - when it's not. He recommended all students double check they've received a policy number to ensure there wasn't any mistakes made.
Change is inevitable when president-elect Donald Trump takes office in 2017. One major change that may have a large impact on students is the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.
Trump intends to recreate a plan that will follow free-market principles in order to "broaden healthcare access, make healthcare more affordable and improve the quality of the care available to all Americans," according to his campaign website.
Only the future will tell if Obamacare will actually be replaced or reformed. However, Trump recently revealed in an interview with Monica Langley and Gerard Baker of The Wall Street Journal that he plans on keeping two parts of Obamacare.
"He’s talking about keeping young people on their parents insurance up to the age of 26. He's talking about making sure that insurance companies cannot turn down someone with a pre-existing condition," said Joseph Losco, director of the Bowen Center for Public Affairs. "Both of those are really sustained only by the Healthcare Mandate which says that everybody must buy insurance or else theres a tax that they’ll have to pay."
"While Trump wanting to maintain these policies under the Healthcare Mandate without keeping the mandate, has the potential to be difficult, it could happen," Losco said.
"If he wants to keep the parts that are popular of Obamacare and rely on the market, it’s gonna be very difficult because either the premiums will be much higher or the kinds of coverage that are mandated will be much more lax," he said.
If Trump chooses to keep the aforementioned parts of Obamacare and repeal the rest, many women will have to pay out of pocket for some reproductive services and contraceptives.
“The other thing that’s involved here as well is that under Obamacare there are certain services for women that are mandated including reproductive health issues and contraception," Losco said. "Those are likely to be repealed, and that would mean that women would have to pay for those services out of their own pocket."
The fear of having to pay out of pocket for contraceptives resulted in higher Google searches for "birth control," "planned parenthood" and "IUD" on Nov. 9 following Election Day. All of which are related. Planned Parenthood provides women with affordable birth control options such as the IUD - a three to 12 year contraception option for women.
While Trump is likely to dismantle most of Obamacare, Losco pointed out it isn't a straightforward process.
“You can see how complex this whole thing is. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle, no it’s more like Jenga blocks. If you remove one piece, the other pieces start to falter,” Losco said. "It’s going to be interesting to see how Trump provides healthcare while removing some of the support that Obamacare has put in place."
The potential repeal of Obamacare will effect the future of women's health services, but it has already affected students. This year, Ball State dismantled their health insurance for students - a decision owner of Nefouse and Associates, Tony Nefouse said was affected by Obamacare.
"Under the Affordable Care Act you have an open enrollment period that starts in November and ends January," Nefouse said. "The student health insurance plan had different open enrollment days, so those open enrollment dates weren’t the same as the Affordable Care Act."
Nefouse pointed out that this difference wasn't what ultimately ended student coverage - lack of enrollment and external forces contributed to the discontinuation of student health insurance.
The changes to the healthcare system will not be immediate, but in the meantime, students should stay positive and informed, Nefouse said.
“I would first say try to stay positive. We have to try to stay positive and hope that everyone comes together for the good of the individual health insurance market," Nefouse said. "I think waiting to see what options are gonna be available is the first thing, and then I think being proactive with your health insurance options and looking at the plans that are available and spending the same amount of time shopping for health insurance as you do shopping for your cell phone, would be a good thing."