Much has been made of Obamacare’s “adult child” provision — the portion of the law that allows dependents to stay on their parents’ health insurance until they’re 26. Some have interpreted this to mean that all plans must cover individuals up to that age, but it actually just allows for the possibility if you’re fortunate enough to have a comprehensive plan. Ultimately, it’s a bone thrown to upper-middle class Millennials who can afford to sip hot cocoa in their onesies while mom and dad foot the bills. But not every “adult child” has that luxury.
What about families that lack the resources to fund their twenty-something’s health insurance? Or young adults who, like me, reject the condescending “adult child” concept outright? Advocates of Obamacare claim that the program’s subsidies should make up for a lack of dependency on our parents (ignoring, of course, market reforms that would actually make healthcare affordable). But like any taxpayer funded redistribution scheme, these subsidies create economic distortions and discourage the kind of competition that lowers overall costs.
Even worse, Obamacare has explicitly banned millions of plans people were happy with, offering in their place more costly, substandard insurance with narrower doctor networks. Sadly, one of the targets of this failed attempt at social engineering has been low-income college students. Across the nation, young people who purchased plans through their universities are now seeing sticker shock beyond their wildest dreams.
In some states, the situation is so bad that colleges have dropped the requirement that students be insured – putting a damper on Obamacare’s alleged goal of reducing the number of uninsured Americans. Take North Carolina as an example. Plans at the state’s public schools increased from $460 per semester to $709. At private schools, a hike of $668 per semester to $1,179 was seen. Unfortunately, this trend isn’t isolated to just North Carolina and a few of its campuses.
Health care policy analyst Avik Roy warned that because Obamacare bans the sort of affordable policies that low-income college students depend on, we could expect price hikes as high as 1,112 percent. This cost increase has profoundly damaged young people attempting to better their economic prospects. College students are already dealing with tuition costs that have risen by 6.5 percent each year for the past decade due in large part to federal loan subsidies. Despite this, the government continues to pile on while politicians feign confusion over the 15.8 percent youth unemployment rate.
As Roy noted at Forbes, these cost increases for students are happening virtually across the board. A couple of particularly egregious examples include the State University of New York in Plattsburgh, where for the entire school year, premiums were $440 per student. Now, they’re between $1,300 and $1,600. The University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington is facing an even bigger disparity: a jump from $165 per year to somewhere between $1,500 and $2,000 annually, and will no longer be offering coverage through the college. Cornell College in Iowa, Lenoir-Rhyne University in North Carolina, and Bethany College in Kansas are also among many institutions of higher education that will no longer provide school-based coverage due to Obamacare.