State Update

September 2013 Reports of Interest

(Reports of Interest) Permanent link   All Posts
The Center for American Progress issued a report finding that some student loans should be dischargeable in bankruptcy. According to the report, the discharge of student-loan debt through a bankruptcy proceeding is extremely rare. Unlike most other debts, student loans may follow borrowers to the grave and result in the garnishing of wages and the seizure of Social Security checks. Meanwhile, most other financial obligations remain dischargeable, including credit card debt and, in some cases, gambling obligations. The report contends that students who do not meet the two-prong standard—have borrower-friendly terms and some evidence that graduates, based on their employability, are likely going to be able to repay these loans—would be eligible for discharge in bankruptcy just as credit cards are.

The National Center for Education Statistics released the results of its national postsecondary student aid study. The survey includes about 95,000 undergraduate and 16,000 graduate students attending 1,500 postsecondary institutions in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The report describes the percentages of students receiving various types of financial aid and the average amounts received by type of institution attended, attendance pattern, dependency status and income level. Specifically, the report finds that 70% of graduate students received some type of financial aid. Twelve percent of graduate students received assistantships and 45% took out student loans, including 43% who took out federal Direct Loans and 10% who took out federal Direct PLUS Loans for graduate students.

The Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors
released a policy statement encouraging integration of oral health into health education curricula in schools.

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation released an Affordable Care Act (ACA) interactive subsidy calculator. The tool illustrates health insurance premiums and subsidies for consumers purchasing insurance on their own in the new health insurance marketplaces created by the ACA. Beginning October 1, 2013, people under age 65, who are not eligible for coverage through their employer, Medicaid or Medicare, can apply for tax credit subsidies available through state-based exchanges. Additionally, states have the option to expand their Medicaid programs to cover all people making up to 133% of the federal poverty level. In states that opt-out of expanding Medicaid, some people making below this amount will still be eligible for Medicaid, some will be eligible for subsidized coverage through health insurance marketplaces, and others will not be eligible for subsidies. With this calculator, you can enter different income levels, ages and family sizes to get an estimate of your eligibility for subsidies and how much you could spend on health insurance.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
has created an interactive U.S. map which allows users to obtain information regarding how the Affordable Care Act is impacting residents in their state.