Hoyer urges schools to teach health care benefits
Rep. Steny H. Hoyer is asking colleges and universities in his district to add a new item to their curricula: Information about the benefits of the Democrats' health care overhaul.
Polls show Americans remain divided over the controversial law approved by congressional Democrats and signed last year by President Barack Obama. Republicans rode opposition to the overhaul to the House majority in November, and surveys this year have shown a plurality of voters favor its repeal.
Supporters of the law say it will grow more popular as more of its provisions take effect.
“Before health reform became law, more than one-third of all young adults — including those with insurance — were having trouble paying their medical bills, and one-fourth were paying off medical debt,” Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, said Thursday in a statement.
“The Affordable Care Act has a number of features that will help those young Americans and provide them with the health and security they deserve. It is important that young people understand and have access to the health coverage they need, so I encourage our colleges and universities to help ensure that they are aware of the new options and resources available to them.”
In a letter Thursday, Hoyer suggested the colleges and universities of the Fifth Congressional District consider placing links on their homepages, distributing flyers along with graduation materials and hosting information sessions about the law.
The letter, which Hoyer's office said was sent to the University of Maryland, Bowie State University, St. Mary's College of Maryland and other schools, follows after the jump.
May 11, 2011
As we approach the graduation season, I wanted to follow up on a letter you should have received from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan regarding health care coverage for students.
The recently enacted Affordable Care Act contains a vitally important, immediate improvement in health coverage options for young people under age 26. Thanks to this new law, young people up to age 26 can typically obtain coverage on their parents’ health insurance plan as long as that plan covers dependent children. This option is true regardless of whether they are employed, in school, or living at home. I encourage you to follow up on the secretaries’ advice and ensure that your graduating students – and the entire student body – are aware of this new option for health coverage.
The Administration provided numerous ways to supply this information to your student body. Listed below are those links for your convenience:
• Place a “badge” on the home page of your Website that automatically links to information about how students can remain on their parents’ health insurance plan. Download the badge by visiting: http://www.healthcare.gov/stay_connected.html.
• Distribute a flyer to students and their parents about this new benefit along with graduation materials. Download a sample flyer by visiting: www.healthcare.gov/center/brochures/new_benefits_for_graduates_and_young_adults.pdf.
• Encourage staff to talk to students about other insurance options – for example, if their parents do not have coverage – by visiting: www.healthcare.gov/foryou/betterbenefitsbetterhealth/youngadults.html.
• Host a session to explain insurance options to your students. HHS has helpfully offered to assistance in creating this event and you can email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Encourage students to visit the Administration’s Facebook page with information for young adults and parents about coverage for individuals under age 26. That can be found at: www.facebook.com/youngadultcoverage.
Another excellent resource for your student body is the non-partisan Young Invincibles online tool kit: http://www.gettingcovered.org/Toolkit/, which has information tailored specifically to young people. It is searchable by state and explains exactly what the new law means to young people, including how to get on a parent’s insurance policy, what to do if he or she has a pre-existing condition, and how the new law impacts women and young people with cancer.
Working together, we can ensure more students and recent alumni obtain the health coverage they need. Please feel free to contact my office at 202-225-4131, should you have any questions. We appreciate your attention to this important matter.
Wishing you the best during this graduation season and with kindest regards, I am
STENY H. HOYER