Editorial: Health benefits lacking positives

A few years ago, when we thought of health care, we thought that people could go to their doctors and get medication when they were sick. But we can’t honestly say that we believe that anymore. With all of the recent events affecting the economy, health care is just something else that has fallen apart. Now, people are struggling to afford insurance for even basic needs. The cost of good insurance has risen so much that people are choosing to go without it. Something needs to be done.

It may come as a surprise to some, but President Barack Obama is intent on reforming our nation’s health care system. The word “surprise” is used because many college students, including those at Rider, don’t know anything about Obama’s proposals. The main thing that students know is that whatever reform passes will affect them in some way.

Obama’s plan for health care reform would require health insurance for everyone. Sounds great, right? But this raises new concerns. If someone has a pre-existing condition, then insurance companies are less likely to want to insure that person. Luckily for such people, Obama is working to ensure that insurers cannot deny coverage because of something out of the person’s control, like a pre-existing condition. Also, if people are required to have insurance but can’t afford it, what are they supposed to do? Many college graduates are asking themselves this very question. If they take a job that doesn’t come with health benefits, then they have to pay for the insurance themselves — and health insurance doesn’t come cheap. In addition to ordinary post-college bills such as car payments, loan payments and rent payments, paying for insurance adds extra money to an already high monthly budget. What is most unfortunate is that this is the current situation that most college grads face, since many have to take a job that may come without benefits simply to pay their bills.

According to a Pew Research Center poll, young adults from age 18 to 29 make up 30 percent of the total population without health insurance. Only 53 percent of employed young adults are even eligible for insurance through their work.

One-little known secret for New Jerseyans is the increased age limit for young people to stay on their parents’ health insurance. Before 2005, students were forced off of that insurance after graduating from college. But luckily for New Jersey students, they can remain insured as long as they have had creditable insurance, like university health insurance, recently. In that case, they can be covered until the age of 31, under the plan of their parent’s employer. This applies as long as the policy was issued in New Jersey; the insurance company does not have to be based in New Jersey. This is definitely a positive thing for those recent grads still trying to find a job and/or coverage.

Having to search not only for a job, but for health insurance as well, is overwhelming. In the past, it used to be so simple for college students: graduate from college, find a job and get health benefits from that job. But now, it seems as though these three tasks are less connected. Hopefully, Obama can do something to lessen the challenges that college grads face.

This weekly editorial expresses the majority opinion of The Rider News editorial board and is written by the Opinion Editor, Angelique Lee.

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