Lawmakers are thinking about removing the mandatory coverage in New Jersey.
Officials from the colleges in New Jersey have been pushing to eliminate the health insurance law in the state that requires students to have coverage as the combination of this regulation and the new healthcare reforms are causing the cost of the plans offered by the schools to head skywards.
Lawmakers are taking these requests into consideration, but there is a careful balance to consider.
They currently face the question of priority between the affordability of health insurance coverage and higher education. This is what the lawmakers must weigh as they mull over and debate this controversial piece of legislation. They must decide on the potential outcome of eliminating the requirement that all colleges students in New Jersey be covered in order to be allowed to attend their classes.
The college officials are asking lawmakers to eliminate this health insurance law to keep education affordable.
The premiums increases to which they have referred, as a result of the healthcare reforms, have increased from being several hundred dollars per year, to costs as high as $1,700 in the next school year. The colleges are afraid that health insurance could force some students to drop out, and may stop others from being able to apply in the first place.
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At the same time, health insurance advocates in New Jersey are cautioning that by removing this mandatory coverage regulation, it could mean that the college campuses could face up to 600,000 uninsured students, which could potentially lead to disaster.
They warned that uninsured students who aren’t able to afford the cost of seeing a doctor could not only spread more illnesses throughout classrooms and dormitories, but they could also end up in emergency rooms. Those taxpayer funded ER visits would lead healthcare costs as a whole in New Jersey to rush upward.
Assemblyperson Celeste Riley (D-Cumberland) stated that “This is a real sticky wicket.” She is among the sponsors of bill A3546, and made this statement as the bill was being debated by the Assembly Higher Education committee in Trenton. The committee voted to move it to full Assembly, even though some of the lawmakers remained uncertain as to whether they would vote for its final version.