College students to mark change in health-care law

Students will gather across Virginia on Thursday to celebrate the six-month milestone of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act being signed into law. The students will be focusing on the provision that the new law extends coverage for young adults.

Starting Thursday, young adults can stay on a parent’s plan until they turn 26. Educational events will be held at the College of William and Mary, University of Virginia, University of Richmond, University of Mary Washington and Tidewater Community College (Virginia Beach and Norfolk campuses).

On Thursday, students like Rachael Johnson, age 22, a senior at Virginia Tech will now be able to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans until they are 26 years old.

“My parents and I were relieved that I will be able to go back on their insurance. I aged off of my parents plan in June when I turned 22 and had to purchase a plan on the market, which gave me very little coverage for the money. Even though I have insurance, I still rely on the student health center for my care because my insurance covers very little,” said Johnson. “Now, I will be going back on my parents’ plan, which will give me one less thing to worry about while pursuing my master’s, and possibly my PhD, in clinical psychology.”

Janie Williams graduated from the University of Virginia in May and found herself kicked off of her parents’ health insurance plan. Unable to find work in her field, she has been waiting tables at a job without affordable insurance.

“I watched the health care debate particularly because I knew that I would be affected by the provision about young people staying on their parents’ insurance. I am thankful that the bill passed and that I am now back on my parents’ plan,” said Williams.

Lacey McClear of Richmond, like many college graduates, is waiting tables without insurance. She lost her insurance due to aging off her parents’ plan earlier this year. She went without insurance until going back on this week due to the new health care law.

“I would not have realized how hard it is to get insurance until I was dropped from my parents’ plan. I looked for insurance and was told I would not qualify due to pre-existing conditions,” said McClear. “I have been living my life in fear of getting sick, until this week when thankfully, I can go back on my parents’ plan.””

The Stanley family of Virginia Beach has anxiously waited for the health care law to go into effect for their youngest daughter Amber to have coverage through their insurance. Amber is a social work student at University of North Carolina and was close to aging off her parents’ plan. Now she will be able to stay in school and not worry about health care coverage. Unfortunately the law was too late for Amber’s older sister, Amy.

Amy Stanley, age 26, now finds herself uninsured and in deep medical debt because she aged off per parents’ plan and found herself without insurance. After having an abnormal pap smear that turned up pre-cancerous cells, she was turned down by many health insurance companies on the private market due to pre-existing conditions.

“I could not afford the insurance that was available to me, and now I just go without and hope for the best. Getting healthy was the easy part of my ordeal. Dealing with insurance denials and the medical bills is the hard part,” said Stanley.

Edited by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at

augusta free press news