Some of the first effects of the president's health care law are being felt right now in the wallets of University of Tampa students.
UT students got a letter several days ago saying they'd have to pony-up an extra $345.00 per semester to cover new health expenses, as now mandated by the federal health care law.
It's a move that didn't sit well with a lot of parents.
Students at universities all over the Bay area are sounding the health care alarm as the new school year approaches, with health fees this fall soaring at some institutions, like UT, where students are now required by law to have $100,000 in coverage, as dictated by the new health care law.
"We have to pay, there's just no way out and that's not right," said parent Paula Gomes, whose son Adam is a senior at UT. "This is way too much of a hike."
Gomes' son, like many kids, could remain on their parents' policy until they're 26 years-old.
"Me and other parents still feel there's no need to have this coverage," said Gomes.
Parents told us they were stunned when they received the letter from UT, which cam about a week ago. It said they would have to come up with an extra $700 in the coming year for health care expenses, even though their child's already covered under their family policy.
"We don't offer a waiver for that," said Stephanie Russell Krebs, who is dean of students at UT. ‘
She said they got about 100 calls from upset parents, but were able to explain what the new fees covered, as part of their holistic approach to health on-campus.
"I understand parents' frustration," said Russell Krebs. "If I'm a month out from sending my child to school and I've projected to the penny what I'm going to pay and then I get another bill, that says I have to pay more, you know, that's hard to take, so I feel for parents."
The school did reduce another fee in a good-faith measure.
"I had no idea," said UT Junior Kaitlyn Martin.
The new fee was news to her, which she knows won't sit well with her parents.
"They probably won't be too happy about it," she said.
"When your health care costs more than double, it hurts," said Curtis Johnson, who is a junior at Clearwater Christian College, where health fees have jumped from roughly $400 his freshman year to now more than $1,300.00 this Fall.
We Skyped with Johnson, who's home in Kansas for the summer. His school policy says you have to have some kind of insurance, not exclusively theirs, to be enrolled, but he bought their plan because it was a great deal.
That is, until the health care law came into play.
"Instead of paying $600, I now, if I went with the school plan, I'm going to have to pay over $1,300. It's more than doubled," he said emphatically. "President Obama and the Democratic leadership in Congress, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, they told the country and specifically told college students like me that this bill would give greater benefits at a lower cost, and not only have my costs risen they've more than doubled."
We also spoke with Diane Zanto with USF Student Health.
She said their student body voted down mandatory health care at their school more than a year ago.
So you're not required to have health care to go there, like you are at UT. Zanto estimates about 20 percent of their students do not have any health coverage.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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