The Florida Public Interest Research Group is bringing its new health care awareness campaign to UF’s campus.
The group held a news conference around 11 a.m. on Thursday in front of the Student Health Care Center to discuss “Health Care 101,” which works to educate students about what the Affordable Care Act means for them.
Speakers talked about tips for students applying for the act’s coverage and emphasized students should not let insurance companies turn down coverage or increase rates due to pre-existing health conditions.
The tips included finding out about financial help, learning about different types of health coverage and setting a budget.
While speakers talked about students needing to look into the Health Insurance Marketplace and visit HealthCare.gov, eight student helpers held up signs with messages like “look at ongoing options.”
Dalyn Houser, the program associate with the research group, said 15 to 20 percent of UF students are uninsured.
She said through the health care law, which opened enrollment on Tuesday, women will no longer have to pay higher fees for coverage, and students can remain on their family plans until they are 26.
Coverage starts on Jan. 1.
Jose Cardona, a 22-year-old UF English senior who is uninsured, also spoke at the conference.
He said last year he fractured his legs after playing basketball and was left with a hefty medical bill.
“It really stopped my life,” he said.
But he is hopeful about the act.
Rachel McGovern, a national council chair of College Democrats of America, said students should work to spread the word about the act and its provisions.
The 21-year-old UF political science and geography senior said the act places emphasis on preventative HIV and cancer screenings.
She said if insurance companies want to increase rates, they should publicly justify their actions and patients shouldn’t be punished for their conditions.
“It is not a crime to be sick,” she said.
National council chair of College Democrats of America Rachel McGovern, 21, speaks about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act in front of the Infirmary on Thursday afternoon. The health care conference was held by the Florida Public Interest Research Group in hopes of informing students about the act.