Widgets Magazine

Seniors stand to benefit from health care extension

Newly passed federal health care reform legislation is giving some graduating Stanford seniors a little peace of mind: they may now stay on their parents’ health insurance plans as dependents until they are 26 years old.

“There’s a chance I will be with a position [next year] that doesn’t offer health insurance,” said senior Robert Girgis. “I had thought about it, and I wouldn’t know what I would do . . . without the change in policy.”

President Obama signed the relevant health care reform legislation into law on March 23. Six months from then, the bill will compel insurance companies to cover dependents under their parents’ plans.

The six-month delay leaves a gap for graduating seniors since coverage will not begin until September, but it could cover many people in the long term.

“I’m hoping that after I graduate I’ll be covered by the plan,” said Steve Ko ’11. “At the time it is enacted, I will still be a student, so it does work.”

Currently, students have the option of staying with Cardinal Care, the health insurance plan Stanford offers, until Aug. 31 after graduation by continuing to pay the premium. The Stanford Alumni Association also offers major medical insurance options for recent graduates and graduates between jobs.

However, Stanford graduates are, by age, part of the most at-risk group when it comes to health insurance. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, half of the estimated 46 million uninsured people in the United States are between the ages of 18 and 34, the bracket in which almost all undergraduate students fall.

Some Stanford graduates do have jobs coming out of graduation that offer them insurance, but for many, the new federal policy may act as a buffer until such coverage is obtained.

Ira Friedman, the director of Vaden Health Center, said Stanford has been concerned with insurance for recent graduates for some time. The extension of Cardinal Care will help, he said, but Friedman also praised the new policy.

“I think it’s a big step forward for students to have the option to remain longer on their parents’ health insurance,” Friedman said.

Some states already had similar legislation to the newly passed federal legislation. In others, like California, no insurance company is compelled to cover dependents once they turn 19 or graduate from college.

A number of Stanford students, including undergraduates, expressed satisfaction with the new policy.

“I like the extension of insurance coverage until 26. It’s one less thing I’ll have to worry about,” Ben Supat ’12 said. “I hadn’t really thought about [health care] until after I heard about the legislation.”

  • Student with health problems

    I have a pre-existing condition so this is good for me, because I was definitely either going to lose health care or need to be very careful about applying to jobs that offer insurance. With my medical condition the former wasn’t really an option, and the latter was really limiting for a just graduated college student. This really frees me up now to explore more job options, especially since i am planning on going into non-profit work when I graduate.