TRUMPED! How Obamacare Repeal and HSA Focus Would Change Financial Education Lessons
By Brian Page
December 8, 2016
Donald Trump is a singular force that promises to reshape the economy in ways that every student would do well to understand. From tax policy to student loans to consumer protections, the personal financial world under a Trump administration will look nothing like it has under President Obama. Starting now, financial literacy teachers must adjust their lessons to reflect this new reality. In our series TRUMPED! award-winning personal finance school teacher Brian Page offers guidance. This is the fourth in the series.
ONE OF DONALD TRUMP’S STATED GOALS is quick repeal of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. His plan would focus on health savings accounts and may roll back young adults’ right to health coverage under their parents’ plan until age 26.
These are critical points for financial literacy teachers. The emphasis on HSAs, which Trump wants children to be able to inherit, has implications for how young people save and how they plan their tax strategies. Before Obamacare, children could become ineligible for coverage under their parents’ plan as young as age 19. A possible roll back makes health insurance a more important topic for high school students.
Part of a financial education teacher’s job is to help students understand where they will get health insurance after graduation. More than 6 million young adults ages 19 to 26 have gained health insurance coverage due to Obamacare, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Now we must move forward in the classroom as if parental coverage past this age may disappear.
Financial educators should introduce students to tools that help them place a value on employer benefits and how to use them in comparing job offers. A total compensation calculator can help evaluate the financial benefit of employer contributions to healthcare premiums or an HSA.
Trying to simplify who qualifies for various government healthcare options and the costs of private sector plans is a challenge. The potential benefits of a Trump plan that emphasizes HSAs won’t be easy either. But financial educators should take the opportunity to integrate tax strategies, estate planning, and savings strategies into any healthcare discussion along with things like deductibles, premiums, co-insurance, out-of-pocket expenses, and in- and out-of-network considerations.
Healthcare coverage is a complicated topic. There are no perfect answers to making the system better, and it is not the job of teachers to provide them in the classroom. What teachers can do is stay on top of the changes that are coming and build lessons around them so that young people know how to navigate the system when they graduate.