Covered.CA registration session

Coffee or Health Care?

With the deadline quickly approaching to sign up for health care through Covered California, there’s a big push on campus to educate students, their families and part-time SJSU employees about the program, and help them sign up. An estimated six percent of the SJSU student population or 1,800 students are uninsured.

“One thing we learned from a survey last year is that students aren’t coming from the perspective that they feel invincible, or aren’t interested in health insurance. They just assumed they couldn’t afford it,” said Professor Anji Buckner, SJSU health science lecturer and faculty lead on the CSU Health Insurance Education Project (HIEP).

As Low As $1 Monthly

Professor Buckner says students are surprised to find out that health coverage through Covered California can cost as little as a dollar a month. She says, in general, SJSU students are paying anywhere from $1 to $100 month, depending on the type of plan they choose, and the subsidies they qualify for.

Students who earn less than $16,000 a year, and who are not dependents, are eligible for free health insurance through Medi -Cal. Professor Buckner asks students, “How many cups of coffee do you buy a week, because you may be able to buy health insurance for about the same price.”

$325 Fine

The CSU Health Insurance Education Project has emphasized the tax penalty more this year because the fine for not having health insurance in 2015 has tripled to $325, or two percent of annual income, whichever is greater. The deadline to apply for Covered California is Feb. 15.

“I think it’s important for students to understand what their rights and responsibilities are in order to make informed decisions and realize the consequences,” said Professor Buckner.

Students can learn more about different health care plans and costs by attending an enrollment support event 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 12 at the Clark Hall Fishbowl rooms.