The Daily Targum

Students Celebrate Health Care Legislation

The Daily Targum — Thursday, September 23, 2010

By Chase Brush
Contributing Writer

The country's first nationwide health care reformation was signed six months ago yesterday, and for some students it provided a reason to rejoice.

Members from the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group Student Chapters and citizen watchdog coalition New Jersey Citizen Action rallied on the steps of Brower Commons on the College Avenue campus yesterday to celebrate the legislation and to inform the community of its effects.

"We're here trying to let people know what's in the new law and how it will benefit them," said Crystal Snedden, health care campaign coordinator for NJCA. "We want to inform people of some of the tangible benefits that they can really sink their teeth into."

The law began a new provision of the law that allows young adults to stay on their parent's plans until the age of 26, Snedden said.

"Even if you don't live at home or are no longer considered a dependent, you're still able to get back on your parent's plan, which I think gives all of us - and especially graduating seniors - one less thing to worry about," she said.

This change comes as good news to students like Sophia Fishbane, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, who spoke yesterday at a press conference about her own experiences with health care coverage and personal sentiments regarding the new law.

Diagnosed after high school with narcolepsy, a sleep disorder, Fishbane, the state board chairperson for NJPIRG, was confronted with the problem of attaining health care coverage when most young adults are busy worrying about settling into a life at college, she said.

"After high school, I watched as most of my friends went off to college," she said. "Because I was not in school, I was not insured. I was thrown off my parents' insurance when I needed it most."

Her parents were forced to pay thousands out of pocket in order to pay the medical expenses accompanying the illness, Fishbane said. Like many others, she hopes the new law will prevent tribulations like this from happening to others.

"There are thousands of people out there who are, like I was, lacking real health care coverage," she said. "The new law will hopefully change that."

Snedden said New Jersey was ahead of the curve in the health care field.

"You can't be turned down due to pre-existing conditions, and starting today all children up to the age of 19 cannot be denied health care coverage," she said. "One thing the new law will do is help the other states across America catch up."

Insurance companies will be forced to put in place some common-sense regulations, including lifetime benefit limits, free preventative services and ending rescissions - all measures geared toward protecting the consumer, Snedden said.

The conference also featured speeches by Michelle Jefferson, Cook campus dean of students, and other NJPIRG members.

The Young Person's Guide to Health Insurance, a new consumer guide that includes a letter from President Barack Obama, was passed out. It aimed at informing young people of the law's new provisions.

Pavel Sokolov, a NJPIRG Student Chapters member, said the new law means a lot for University students.

"We don't need to worry about finding health care and trying to pay for it or being forced to take a low-paying job just to get the health care," said Sokolov, a School of Arts and Science first-year student. "We can focus on our studies and our future."

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