The implementation of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) has affected the international students health insurance as they have been told conflicting requirements throughout the month of October.
Adriana Smith, an international student from Canada and a senior majoring in international studies, said she was told foreign students could not be covered with insurance from their native country.
“It’s a huge drain of money if you’re forced to get the student coverage,” Smith said. “We saved over $5000 once we switched to private coverage.”
Smith said the student health insurance offered by BYU-Idaho costs about $520 per semester. It is more if you are married.
“The only time I had to use the student health coverage didn’t cover what I needed,” Smith said. “I had a corneal ulcer. I paid 700$ for after conversion, I had to pay an additional 300$ out of pocket because it wasn’t covered by the BYU-I health insurance.”
Daniel Brady, a senior studying health care administration and medical receptionist at the health center, said that the Affordable Care Act influenced all of their policies with international students.
“I’d be upset too if I was an international student,” Brady said. “We have had three changes in this month alone about what is required from the state for insurance.”
Brady said because every student is required to have health care, it makes these constant changes very aggravating for foreign students who can’t get consistent information from the health center.
“The Idaho State Health Department has decided that international students can qualify for government-subsidized health insurance plans,” according to the Idaho State Health Department email that was sent to the health center.
Brady said the health center passes on the information as soon as they receive it to try and give students as much time to adjust to the new policies as possible.
“It is the fickle line of bureaucracy that gives us the information,” Brady said. “When it does, we just have to implement it.”