What Happens to Student Health Insurance After Trump?

22 May 2017 |

It is clear that healthcare in the US is in a state of much change. Obamacare is on the way out – and President Trump is bringing in new orders to deal with healthcare, his way. But what exactly does this mean? What do Trump’s orders mean for J visa holders in the US? Or for F visa holders?

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International students and school administrators are waiting to see what happens with Obamacare under Trump, and how it will affect the health insurance requirements for overseas students. Here’s what we know, and the questions we still have.

What does Trump Plan for the Affordable Care Act?

Trump has already written up some controversial executive orders and he has only been in post for a few weeks. One of his named campaigns when running for President was to reform the Affordable Care Act – otherwise known as Obamacare. He said that Obamacare had resulted in high costs, inefficient websites, higher premiums, and fewer choices for Americans. Trump has asked Congress to deliver a full repeal of Obamacare. And he has some reforms ready to bring to bear, which will, according to the administration, make healthcare more affordable and make it easier for Americans to access healthcare.

As well as demanding the repeal, the new administration will undoubtedly issue waivers that mean states will individually be able to choose their own approach to the Act, and may be able to put in place changes to Medicaid and to the rules governing private insurance. It is through these waivers that Trump will look at pushing through deeper changes, based on how he will say that “success” in the states’ individual experiments provides a blueprint for national change.

How Will Trump Change Health Insurance?

Trump did indeed come through on this commitment to repeal Obamacare. He ordered the heads of his agencies to minimize the financial burden of the Affordable Care Act as much as possible. But the problem Trump encounters is that a lot of Obamacare is written into the law. There are many regulations attached to the Affordable Care Act which cannot easily be dismantled and not as easily as signing an executive order.

The administration can look at ways to hinder agencies from operating within Obamacare, and allow states to have more freedom over how they interpret and implement Obamacare. It is still unclear exactly how Trump will dismantle Obamacare, but it is said that an executive order will:

1) Loosen guidance and revise the conditions attached to the regulations within the Obamacare act. Trump is targeting the mandate that all Americans must have insurance or risk a penalty.
2) Allow officials to opt out of charging penalties for the infringement of certain aspects of Obamacare, including being able to give employees money to buy their own health insurance.
3) Make changes to the regulations surrounding Obamacare.

One way in which the Republicans want to change Obamacare is through ditching the individual mandate and bringing in a requirement for continuous coverage. This way, people get a good deal on their health insurance only if they have used the insurance prior to being sick or actually needing it.

What Does This Mean for Student Health Insurance?
One of the main issues for Trump was that “no person should be required to buy insurance unless he or she wants to.” Under this idea, it is logical that health insurance for international students will no longer be a requirement at US colleges and universities. He also says that people should be able to shop to find the best prices for medical care, procedures, and exams.

It is clear that while reforms may be made, the cost of healthcare in the US remains high. It is important for international students and visitors to have healthcare insurance in place in order to be protected from high bills due to unexpected medical emergencies.

In the case of school health insurance, universities want students to find the best value in the market. This makes sense in order to provide high quality healthcare and minimize the risk of being stranded in the US without the money to pay for medical care. With more choice and greater flexibility, administrators can offer a selection of ACA like plans and non-ACA plans, which are available at affordable rates.

The Trump administration says that no one will be without coverage during the transition time. It is clear, however, that Obamacare is on the way out. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said “We’re going to move carefully in conjunction with the administration to repeal and replace it with things like health savings accounts and interstate health insurance sales and high-risk pools at the state level to take care of people who have pre-existing conditions.”

However, some commentators say that any replacement for Obamacare will not be around until at least 2018, despite the timeline Trump may have previously given. He said on Fox News in February: “In the process and maybe it will take till sometime into next year, but we are certainly going to be in the process. It’s very complicated.”