CSU Launches Outreach Campaign To Tout Exchange Enrollment
California State University has launched a new outreach program to encourage students, their families and part-time staff to obtain health coverage through Covered California, the state health insurance exchange, HealthyCal reports (Flores, HealthyCal, 11/19).
Need for Outreach
The Obama administration seeks to have about seven million individuals across the U.S. enroll in state health insurance exchanges. Officials say that about 2.6 million of them need to be young and healthy individuals to help keep costs down for the overall pool of enrollees.
Nearly one-third of such young individuals live in California, Florida and Texas (California Healthline, 7/25).
Barriers to Coverage for College Students
According to CSU, college students are one of the largest groups of uninsured state residents. Keri Simmons, a CSU master of public health student, said many college students lack insurance because:
- They have pre-existing conditions;
- They work part-time and are not eligible for employer-sponsored coverage; or
- They cannot afford individual coverage.
Simmons added that such barriers have been lifted by the ACA.
However, Emma Spellman -- a project coordinator for the new CSU outreach program and a research assistant with the CSU-Monterey Bay's Institute for Community Collaborative Studies -- said that college students largely are confused about their eligibility for coverage under the ACA.
"A lot just assume they are not going to be eligible because they have been uninsured for so long," Spellman said.
Details of Outreach Efforts
CSU's new Health Insurance Education Program is working to educate college students about the ACA by:
- Helping them calculate their estimated premiums for plans through Covered California;
- Conducting classroom visits; and
- Hosting information sessions.
Spellman said health insurance "is a subject that is hard to get college students excited about -- it is not the most exciting or most thrilling." However, she said that "those who need it are definitely interested." Spellman said she has encountered some hostility at outreach events after the Covered California website experience glitches in early October, but that such incidents have been infrequent (HealthyCal, 11/19).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.