California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

    Students have healthcare options

    The Affordable Care Act, which came into effect in Oct. 2013, “gives the American people the stability and flexibility they need to make informed choices about their health,” according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website.

    For some undergraduate students, there is little change. Students who have health care under their parents’ plans will continue to remain on the plan and can now stay insured until the age of 26. Their relationship with California Lutheran University Health Services will remain the same.

    Kerri Lauchner, director of health services at CLU, added that the Affordable Care Act would also provide preventative care, such as some vaccines and Pap tests for patients at no additional cost.

    One of the most significant changes resulting from the Affordable Care Act is the insistence of health care for everyone, regardless of age or health. Starting in 2014, all residents of the United States will be required to have health care.

    This affects everyone differently. Those who are already insured may see little changes as a new year approaches. However, for some, like CLU senior Jess Webster, whose family recently moved to Germany and left her without an insurance policy, it can be more intimidating.

    “It is stressful to be 21 and have to figure out what plan and what cost and how I can pay for health care. It’s more stressful to figure out than to just be without it,” Webster said.

    However, there is a new option for those who previously did not have insurance.

    A new health insurance exchange called Covered California, which will go into effect the first of January 2014, “will make it simple and more affordable for you and millions of other Californians to get quality health insurance that can’t be canceled or denied because of a pre-existing medical condition or if you get sick,” according to its website.

    This new option will help individuals find health insurance and plans that work with their financial situations. Some individuals will qualify for federal financial assistance to help with payments.

    Those individuals who do not wish to have health insurance will be forced to pay a financial penalty by the federal government.

    Joyce Darby, a Norwegian junior transfer student, compares it to the health care in Norway.

    “In Norway, we have health care for anybody who has a social security number,” she said.

    Darby said that she didn’t know much about the changes resulting from the Affordable Care Act and while she thinks it’s beneficial, she is not so sure that the government should be spending money in this area.

    International students are insured through the university and are not affected by the recent healthcare changes.

    “International students still have the student insurance policy provided through CLU for which the cost is paid by those students. International students are required by our government to have health insurance and CLU purchases a policy on their behalf,” Lauchner said in an email interview.

    Any student can also purchase a voluntary policy through the student insurance program at CLU. However, even with all of these changes in health care, Health Services hasn’t stopped providing health care for students.

    “We are here for students’ medical needs and are available to all full-time or residential students whether they are undergraduate, graduate, or professional,” Lauchner said. “CLU discontinued the mandatory insurance program for domestic undergraduates in 2012 but that did not affect the low-cost services we provide.”

    Students should be aware that Health Services is working with Wellness Programs and the United Way of Ventura County to help spread information about signing up for Covered California.

    To read about the changes affecting health care, visit To read about the Affordable Care Act and Covered California, visit


    Danya Migdali
    Staff Writer
    Published Oct. 9, 2013