Washington Secrets

Obamacare shock: College insurance prices soar

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Columnists

The future frightening payoffs of college loans are taking a backseat to the immediate and soaring costs of health insurance students are getting slapped with as they return to school this fall, all thanks to Obamacare.

Because of a rule in the Affordable Care Act that lifts caps on policy payoffs, the cheap insurance policies typically healthy students previously got are skyrocketing, some over 1,000 percent. The reason: Without payoff caps, insurance firms are boosting prices to cover their potential losses.

One example: a late July email to incoming students from Guilford College of Greensboro, N.C. revealed a jump from $668 to $1,179, a 75 percent jump. The reason stated: "Our student health insurance policy premium has been substantially increased due to changes required by federal regulations issued on March 16, 2012 under the Affordable Care Act."

The issue is brewing here in Tampa where students are pressuring political leaders to address it. "We're trying to make the conservative national leaders in Tampa focus on this issue," said Ron Meyer, spokesman for Young America's Foundation. "It's time for conservative leaders to start talking about Obamacare's hurt on college campuses."

The GOP has already vowed to repeal Obamacare, but that will be tough even if Mitt Romney wins the election. As a result, interest groups are looking at immediate ways to change the harsher policies in Obamacare and student groups are moving the premium surge to the top of their list.

At a meeting of conservatives Wednesday, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli spelled out ways to kill Obamacare if Romney wins and the GOP gets at least 50 senators. "Repeal is within reach," said one of the nation's leading Obamacare foes.

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