Obamacare and Students
Under Obamacare, students who are U.S. citizens or legal residents will be required to have health insurance. Beginning in 2014, those without coverage may pay a tax penalty.
Four Ways Students Can Get Health Insurance Under Obamacare
If you are a student, you have several options for obtaining health insurance that meets the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
1. Stay on your parents health insurance. If you’re under the age of 26, your parents may be able to add you as dependent to a health insurance plan purchased through the marketplace at Covered California.
2. Stay on your college or university’s health coverage. If your school plan or policy began on or before December 31, 2014, it meets the ACA requirements for coverage. Because insurance plans offered by colleges and universities vary widely, state governments are still figuring out how to treat student insurance in the future. Policies may vary by state after 2014. Talk to your school’s health plan office for more information.
3. Get health insurance through an employer. If you work at a job that offers health benefits, that plan will qualify as minimum essential coverage under Obamacare. For more information on job-based insurance, see “What if I have job based insurance?” at HealthCare.gov.
4. Buy individual insurance. If you don’t get insurance through any of the options listed above, you may be required to purchase an individual plan if you want to avoid a tax penalty. However, many students -- because of their low incomes -- will be exempt from this rule. For example, you won't have to pay the fee if you don't earn enough to file an annual tax return, or if the cheapest available plan costs more than 8% of your annual income. To learn more about who is exempt from the fee, see below.
If you must buy private insurance, you can purchase it through Covered California, the marketplace set up to provide coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Usually, you must buy insurance during an open enrollment period, but recent college graduates qualify for special enrollment, meaning they have a limited time to sign up outside the normal rules.
For more information about the Obamacare tax penalty, including whether or not you are exempt from it, see Do I Have to Get Obamacare in California?
To learn more about what you may have to pay for an individual insurance plan, see How Much Does Obamacare Cost in California?
For more information about applying for an individual health insurance plan, see How Do I Sign Up for Obamacare in California?