Student Health Center helps with healthcare

Megan Fenwick, Social Media Editor

The Bakersfield College Student Health Center will be having an Omni Family Health table available on campus to help students sign up during open enrollment for Medi-Cal and Covered California. An enrollment specialist has been available in the Campus Center Quad on Wednesdays since Oct. 25 and will continue to be on campus on select Wednesdays through the end of January. An enrollment specialist has also been present on the Delano Campus on Wednesdays since Nov. 1 and will continue to be available through Jan. 31 as well.
Although the national deadline for open enrollment for health care is Dec. 15, open enrollment for Californian residents is extended to Jan. 31. However, for coverage on Jan. 1 to kick in, the deadline is still Dec. 15. For those who sign up after that date, coverage will not kick in until February or March.
“Our ongoing effort is to bridge campus to community resources,” said Ray Purcell, the director of the Student Health Center, regarding the center’s effort to assist students in signing up for Covered California, the health insurance marketplace for the state. “So in establishing that bridge, from campus services to community services, then we broaden the base of what a student can require. In order for them to access that, they have to either qualify for Covered California or Medi-Cal.”
To qualify for Medi-cal, which serves low income Californians, individuals and families must earn less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level.
Recent attempts by congress to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act have left many uncertain about the future of their health care, and the United
States Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced on Aug. 31 that it would be reducing advertising for ACA enrollment from $100 million to $10 million, effectively cutting its promotional budget by about 90 percent. However, Purcell says that BC students should not worry too much about their health care as it currently stands.
“The Affordable Care Act really has not changed in any substantive way since last year,” he said. “So the services that people signed up for and became familiar with during the 2016-17 plan year, they’re going to get when they sign up again. When they sign up again this year, it’s essentially the same process with many of the same choices. Kern County really hasn’t changed.”
“I think a lot of students are relying on a wing and a prayer, because they’re relatively healthy people and it’s difficult to say, ‘if I’m healthy and I haven’t had to access services, maybe I can keep being lucky,’’ said Purcell.
“Many students are a flat tire away from having to drop out. And in the same way, many students are an appendicitis away from having to drop out.”