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The Affordable Care Act: What UT Students Need to Know

The Affordable Care Act, sometimes called Obamacare, is a federal law designed to increase the number of people who have health insurance, improve the quality and affordability of health insurance, and reduce the costs of healthcare. It contains several provisions that are rolling out over time starting in 2010 and continuing in 2014 and beyond.
  1. Health Insurance Requirement: The Individual Shared Responsibility provision of the law requires most people to get health insurance or pay a penalty. Some students may qualify for an exemption from this requirement. Review your options as a UT student.
  2. Penalties for failing to meet the requirement:

  3. Healthcare Marketplace: Also known as an "Exchange," this is a new "one-stop shop" service designed to help people find and compare health insurance costs and coverage. Financial help to pay for health insurance is available to qualifying individuals. Marketplace plans must meet or exceed standards set forth in the Affordable Care Act. While many states have established their own Marketplaces, the Marketplace in Texas is operated by the federal government. You can learn more at About the Health Insurance Marketplace.

    As a UT student, you have unique options in addition to the Marketplace.

  4. Other provisions of the Affordable Care Act

    The law contains many provisions. Here are a few that directly impact UT students:

    • Preventative services are covered at 100% (no cost to the patient).
    • People ages 25 and younger can join, stay, on, or return to a parent's plan, even if you're
      • attending school (or not)
      • not living with your parents
      • financially independent
      • married
      • eligible to enroll in your employer's plan (in 2014)
    • Starting in 2014, health insurance companies can no longer refuse to cover you or charge you more if you already have a health condition.
    • Health insurance companies cannot set annual or lifetime limits on how much they will pay for your healthcare.
    • Health insurance will cost the same for men and women. In other words, women no longer have to pay more for health coverage than men do.

    Read the Affordable Care Act

Your Health Insurance Options

Stay on your parent's insurance plan. Most people under age 26 can stay on (or join or return to) their parent's insurance. If you are 25 or younger, ask your parents if they have health insurance that you could enroll in.

Enroll in the Student Health Insurance Plan. The UT System-selected Student Health Insurance Plan provides affordable coverage tailored to the unique needs of UT students and their eligible dependents. This plan has all of the essential features required by the Affordable Care Act plus optional dental coverage. Get the details at UT Student Health Insurance Plan or by calling UHS at 512-475-8394.

Many international students are already enrolled in the Student Health Insurance Plan. The International Office can assist - call 512-471-2477.

Enroll through the Health Insurance Marketplace (sometimes called the "exchange") at Financial help is available to qualifying individuals. People under age 30 with limited incomes may qualify to buy "catastrophic" health insurance, which only protects you from very high medical costs. Learn More about Catastrophic Plans.

Employer-provided coverage: If you have a job, ask your supervisor or human resources contact if you're eligible for insurance through your workplace.

State of Texas Medicaid: Find out if you qualify for Medicaid by calling 211.

Travis County Medical Assistance Program (MAP) is for low income people who do not have other coverage like private insurance or Medicaid and who live in Travis County. Learn more at Travis County MAP.

Remain uninsured. Many students may not earn enough to be required to have health insurance. If you are required to have insurance and you don't get it, you'll have to pay a tax penalty. Either way, you'll also have to pay for 100% of your medical expenses. UHS does not recommend this option.

Resources for More Information

UT Student Health Insurance Plan

Glossary of Health Insurance Terms

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