School has seen significant increases in the annual costs of its health insurance plan for students
New York’s Bernard College has seen the annual cost of its health insurance plan for students skyrocket over the past few years. Students typically use the school’s Aetna Student Plan to receive the coverage that they need, which helps them cover the cost of medical care and medication. Fewer students are beginning to use the plan due to its high cost. During the school’s most recent semester, enrollment in the Aetna Student Plan dropped 30%, with some 857 students now using the plan for health insurance coverage.
Cost of Aetna Student Plan has increased by 69%
The cost of the plan has seen a 69% increase in costs between 2013 and 2014 as well as 2014 and 2015. The reason why costs are growing so significantly may be due to the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. The federal health care law has created several new regulations, some of which require organizations to provide free contraceptive care, cover bariatric surgery, provide gym membership reimbursement, and remove the cap on medical spending while policyholders are “in network.”
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Regulations may be the reason that costs are rising so aggressively
The introduction of new regulations also introduced greater costs for the school. In 2012, Barnard allowed students to opt out of the Aetna Student Plan, which gave students the opportunity to stay on the health insurance plans of their parents or purchase policies through the private market or the state’s insurance exchange. As costs have grown, many students, especially those from other countries, have opted out of the plan in favor of other options.
Federal law has made insurance more accessible, but not necessarily more affordable
The Affordable Care Act has received criticism in recent years because of its regulations and the impact they have had on the cost of health insurance coverage. While the federal law sought to make insurance coverage more accessible to consumers, it has also become more expensive, with premiums rising steadily over the past few years.