As enrollment deadlines for Obamacare start to get extended in various states across the nation, even here in Oregon, law students still have something to fear. Crushing debt from tuition, living expenses, and federal interest rates are something that we cannot help but be aware of. The average age of both UO’s 1L and 2L class is currently 26 years old…this means that many of us do not benefit from our parents’s health coverage (if they even have it). Until enrolling in law school, neither of us seriously considered being one of the many uncovered Americans. However, economically being covered does not make sense. Here’s why:
- Tax Penalties if you make less than $10,150/year (AKA you’re in law school)
- 2014: $95/person
- 2015: $325/person
- 2016: $695/person
- UO Health Coverage:
- 3 years of coverage at 5.4% compounded federal interest rate IF neither the price nor the interest rate rises = $10,888.12 on the day you graduate
- $300 deductible per year
- Only expenses above $11,788.12 would be covered
- Oregon Care Coverage:
- Catastrophic Insurance: $123/mo. = $1,476/yr.
- 3 years of coverage at 5.4% compounded federal interest rate IF neither the price not the interest rate rises = $4,759.97
- $6,350 per year (per healthcare.gov – information on OregonCare)
- Only expenses above: $11,109.97 would be covered
- No Insurance:
- Visit to UO Health Center for a student: $15/visit
- ($95*) + ($325*) + (Hope you have a job in 2016) + (3 annual visits to UO Health Center = $45) = $465 TOTAL for 3 years OR $472.61 if you also pay a 5.4% compounded federal interest rate on this.
- Female students who choose to purchase birth control pills can do so from Planned Parenthood for $20-$25/mo. without insurance. Pricing for the UO Student Health Clinic is unavailable online.
*Assuming that you must pay the tax penalty. OregonCare provides a full list of exemptions to the tax penalty – of those we feel the following are the most relevant to law school students: (1) IF the lowest price coverage available to you would cost more than 8% of your yearly income, (2) member of a recognized tribe, or (3) specific increases in necessary expenses for caring for a sick close family member/child.
The numbers for OregonCare are based upon a student earning approximately $30,000 in the year they entered law school. Students who earned less than $15,000 in the year they entered may be eligible for the Oregon Healthcare Program (OHP). There is currently no information available through OregonCare’s website on this plan. We are having a meeting later this week specifically about OHP. There will be a follow up post later this week regarding this plan and its benefits.