Obamacare: No Free Lunches
The invisible will soon be visible.

The University of Puget Sound in Tacoma . . . dropping school-sponsored health plans starting in the fall


Michael Tanner

In 1850, the French economist Frederic Bastiat wrote “That Which Is Seen and That Which Is Not Seen,” in which he noted that, while politicians liked to trumpet the visible benefits of their largess, there were often unseen costs and consequences that resulted from those policies.

It is a lesson that politicians should heed today. 

Take, for example, Obamacare. The president loves to cite the fact that college students are now able to stay on their parents’ policies until age 26. This has undoubtedly made it easier for some students to get or keep insurance coverage. But the additional coverage is not free. In fact, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, the cost of continuing coverage from 18 to 26 could run as high as $3,400 per child per year. Much of that additional cost is passed back to companies that provide insurance coverage to dependents of their employees.  

The predictable result: Companies are dropping dependent coverage altogether. Among them is one of the largest union-administered health-insurance funds in New York, SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, which is now dropping dependent coverage for 30,000 workers. Ironically, the fund had previously covered nearly 6,000 workers’ children, some up to age 23. Those students, along with other spouses and children, are now out of luck.

And what about students whose parents don’t receive dependent coverage at work, and who can’t afford to pay the additional cost themselves? Many of them used to be able to get coverage through their college. But new rules and regulations under Obamacare are forcing many colleges to discontinue their coverage or to dramatically raise premiums. 

For example, Lenoir-Rhyne University of Hickory, N.C., the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash., and Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, are all dropping school-sponsored plans starting in the fall. The colleges said that Obamacare’s regulations would have driven up students’ premiums tenfold. And, Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kan., was forced to raise the premium on the plan it offered students from $445 to more than $2,000 to pay for the new level of coverage required by the health-care law.

The Obama administration’s requirement that insurance include contraceptive coverage is also causing Catholic universities to drop student coverage. Already, Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, and Ave Maria University in Florida have recently dropped their student plans. 

The president is not going to be talking about those students who have lost their health insurance because of his policies.