Curtis Johnson got the shock of his life yesterday when he opened a letter from Clearwater Christian College and discovered that his student health insurance fee was going to more than double – thanks to President Obama’s healthcare reform law.
Last year, the 19-year-old from Hutchinson, Kan. paid $600 for health insurance coverage. But in the fall, Johnson will have to pay $1,330 – an amount he said is “becoming unaffordable.”
“It’s a lot of money for a college kid,” he told Fox News Radio. “This law has not only raised the cost to me, it’s become unbearable for many financially strapped college students.”
Clearwater Christian College, a non-denominational school, on Tampa Bay, placed the blame squarely on ObamaCare.
“Due to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA – commonly known as health care reform), the cost of student health insurance has doubled,” read the letter from the college’s human resources department. “In addition, most insurance carriers are hesitant to provide contracts for this insurance due to the unpredictability of the cost of the claims.
Clearwater requires all students to have insurance – either through the college’s plan or a private plan. It’s unclear how many of the school’s 500 students will be impacted by the price hike.
But the price will certainly hurt students like Johnson – who only paid $465 a year for health insurance when he was a freshman.
“The President and the Democratic leaders in Congress championed this bill and they said it was going to lower the cost of healthcare,” Johnson told Fox News Radio. “It’s not only raised my cost, it doubled the cost of my healthcare.”
Johnson said he will have to look at alternatives, pointing out that he also has to pay for tuition, books and room & board.
“I remember when Nancy Pelosi said earlier that they had to pass the law to find out what was in it,” he said. “I’m sure finding out for myself what’s in this law. I really never thought it would directly affect me.”
At least two Catholic universities have decided to drop student health plans over ObamaCare concerns.
Franciscan University in Ohio and Ave Maria University in Florida voiced strong objections to the so-called contraceptive coverage mandate.
Ave Maria University president James Towey told FoxNews.com they were also facing a premium increase ranging from 65 percent to 82 percent.
Clearwater Christian College is in Rep. Bill Young’s congressional district. He said he was very disturbed by the impact ObamaCare will have on the religious school.
“This is a very good institution of learning – as well as a religious institution,” Young told Fox News Radio. “It is a positive factor in our district and it’s such a shame they are beginning to feel this.”
Young isn’t one to say ‘I told you so,’ – but he was one of only a handful of lawmakers to actually read the 2,700 page healthcare bill.
“Despite our warnings and telling our colleagues this was bad legislation – they passed the bill – and now we’re finding out that all of the things we told them are coming true,” he said. “The predictions of how bad it was going to be are coming true.”
The Dept. of Health & Human Services said more than a million students are covered through student health plans. A spokesperson declined to comment on the specifics of the Clearwater Christian College plan.
HHS also declined to explain why some students are being forced to pay higher prices when they were under the impression the new law would lower their costs.
HHS did say that students will have added benefits under the law – including a rule that prevents insurance companies from putting an annual limit on student health plans. Health insurance companies are also required to spend 80 percent of premium dollars on health benefits rather than overhead.
HHS pointed out that the Affordable Care Act ensures that students can count on being covered by their health plan if they get sick.
But what about students like Curtis Johnson – who may not be able to afford to actually buy the coverage?
HHS declined to answer that question.
The college said even though students will pay a higher price, they will also get better benefits. The letter to students explained that the $115 per month charge is “particularly inexpensive compared to the cost of most plans (usually at $400 per month for an individual).”
“Compare that to the average cost of an emergency room visit reported at $1,318 (by the American Hospital Association) and it reveals the importance of coverage,” the college wrote.
Johnson, who is a conservative Republican, does have a sympathetic ear in Congress.
Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) represents the 19-year-old’s congressional district. He said it’s not surprising that Americans are discovering the true price tag of “ObamaCare.”
“ObamaCare is bad medicine for everyone,” Huelskamp said in a statement to Fox News Radio. “Though some young adults were smart enough not to fall under Obama’s spell, all will suffer because of his health care law.”
“Future college graduates face a weak job market because ObamaCare will make it too expensive to hire new workers,” he added. “It’s a rude welcome to adulthood.”
Todd Starnes is the author of “Dispatches From Bitter America – Culture War Stories from a Gun-toting, Chicken-eating, Son-of-a-Baptist.” The book is endorsed by Sarah Palin, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin. Click here to get your copy.