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Health Care Reform

Health Care Reform, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), Affordable Care Act (ACA), and Obama Care – These terms all refer to the same thing – Government mandated Health Care Reform.

The Health Care Reform mandate is being enacted in stages over several years but some very major sections will be enacted on January 1, 2014.  The rapidly approaching January 1, 2014 deadline, along with an increasing amount of inaccurate information being released about the Act, is causing many questions and much anxiety among our students.  There is a tremendous amount of information available to you by contacting the health insurance marketplace at or by searching on-line for PPACA, ACA, or Obama Care.

The following information is targeted to University of Tennessee/Knoxville students:

If you do not have health insurance and are not covered by your parent’s insurance policy, you will need to purchase health insurance or be fined by the government. Although you may pay the per semester health fee to utilize the Student Health Center, it is not health insurance and will not exempt you from the requirement to have insurance.

Yes.  Even though you are eligible to use the Student Health Center, you still need health insurance.
The Student Health Center is not an alternative to health insurance.  It provides more affordable, accessible, student centered health care than is generally available in the medical community.

Although you can purchase health insurance through the government’s health insurance marketplace (, the University sponsored health insurance plan, administered by UnitedHealthcare Student Resources, meets ACA requirements and may be much less expensive.  Information about this health insurance plan is available under “Student Health Insurance” on our web site at: Health Insurance) .

All University of Tennessee employees who were not eligible for insurance provided by the University received a letter advising them they would need to purchase health insurance from the Health Insurance Marketplace or elsewhere to avoid being fined for not having insurance.  This notice does not apply to graduate students with a 25% or greater work appointment as Graduate Assistant or Research Assistant.  These students have an ACA qualified insurance plan provided to them as a benefit.    If you are a graduate student and are unsure of your appointment status as a Graduate Assistant or Research Assistant, please check with your department or with University Payroll at 974-5251.

The October deadline only pertains to University employees choosing insurance coverage available to them.  The deadline for uninsured students needing to obtain insurance to meet ACA requirements is December 31, 2013.

The effective date of the University sponsored health insurance plan was August 1, 2013, and the plan fully met existing ACA requirements.  New ACA requirements begin January 1, 2014 but plans in effect prior to this date are exempt from meeting these requirements until the next plan year (August 1, 2014).  An example of two areas of the existing plan that will not meet the next plan year 2014 requirements:  pre-existing conditions and plan year dollar maximums.

Pre-existing Conditions -The existing (2013-2014) plan provides pre-existing coverage for insured persons under the age of 19 or those who had continuous health insurance coverage for the previous 12 months.  Other insured persons would fall under the pre-existing condition exclusions as outlined in the brochure.

Major Medical Maximum – The existing (2013-2014) plan has a plan year maximum of $500,000 per year.  In the future, there will be no plan year dollar limit.

For questions regarding insurance required by The Affordable Care Act, please visit  For questions regarding the University sponsored health insurance offered through UnitedHealthcare Student Resources, please call the Student Health Center Insurance Office at (865) 974-2337.

Student Health Center
Division of Student Life

1800 Volunteer Blvd.
Knoxville, TN 37996-3102
Phone: 865-974-3135