Students all across American International College (AIC) obtain health coverage in a variety of ways. For some, it’s through their employer or family plans. Others may purchase insurance through a health insurance marketplace here in Massachusetts or elsewhere. For all of these young adults, health care may not be top of mind, but it is such an important resource — especially with the ongoing uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you are among the 14.5 million people who signed up for health insurance through the federal marketplace this year, your premiums became much more affordable under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The bill passed last year included an historic investment in reducing health care costs with expanded premium tax credits that help pay for health insurance. These subsidies have made comprehensive coverage accessible for millions of families who could otherwise not afford insurance. But these subsidies will expire unless Congress steps up to make them permanent before they break for the summer recess.
This issue is vital to the work that we do. We are health science students. As health care providers, we will soon be dedicated to providing care to all, across a variety of health care settings. Having affordable, accessible insurance reduces out-of-pocket costs for those who need care. Health insurance subsidies have helped reduce monthly premiums for millions of Americans. Those who have enrolled in the marketplace and benefit from the expanded subsidies have seen a 19 percent drop in premiums, from an average of $164 to $133. For students like us making our way in the real world, that’s makes all the difference for affordable health insurance. Failing to extend the subsidies could result in approximately 3 million Americans losing their health insurance.
One of AIC’s most notable alumni has a significant role to play in the future of this program. Congressman Richard Neal serves as Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee. He will be a key factor in ensuring any legislation featuring this subsidy program gets through Congress and ultimately goes to President Biden’s desk. Congressman Neal has been a long-time advocate for affordable health care, and we hope he rises to the occasion and ensures that these subsidies are made permanent before the August recess.
Expanding access to high-quality, reliable, and affordable health care is how we will move both our country and our Commonwealth forward. Young people all across Massachusetts, and millions of Americans, are counting on Congress to protect the future of affordable health care by ensuring subsidies are made permanent for future generations.
Grace Beaupre, Student Occupational Therapy Association President
Michael Bianco, Student Physical Therapy Association President
Benjamin Gordon, Student Physical Therapist