As of the 2014-15 school year, all students at West Virginia University will be required to have health insurance before heading to class. And although Obamacare is not their first recommendation — the school has a special contract with Aetna to provide reasonable policies — the university is suggesting that students visit the the Obamacare marketplace for “discounted or free health insurance.”
In an e-mail sent to students and their families, Vice President for Student Affairs Ken Gray wrote, “Because health problems can interfere with academic success, West Virginia University is in the process of making important changes in the health care of our students.”
He then wrote, “Beginning academic year 2014-15, all WVU students will be required to have health care coverage. Many universities around the country use this model to ensure that students are protected against unforeseen and catastrophic medical expenses.”
Following that statement, Gray presented viable insurance options to students. In describing the Aetna plans, he wrote, “If your student is in need of health insurance, WVU contracts with Aetna Student Health Insurance to offer an affordable, comprehensive, ACA-compliant policy tailored to student needs.”
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The e-mail provides contact information for both Aetna and the Affordable Care Act, and does not explicitly rank one program over another.
The California State University system is promoting the ACA far more blatantly, starting what Politico calls “a massive outreach campaign” to spread awareness to students.
“This is the population Covered California needs,” said Walter Zelman, chairman of the Department of Health Science at California State University, Los Angeles.
Zelman is leading the efforts to promote Obamacare, believing that many students will benefit by enrolling. Given the demographic of his school, which has 437,000 students, Zelman could help thousands of young people acquire no-or-low-cost insurance through Covered California, the state Obamacare program.