By Shabaz Kazia, Staff Writer
Canopies and tables are set up outside Valley’s Administration Building; students are getting
educated on taking their first step at having health insurance through Covered California.
Stationed outside the Administration Building is Dr. Karen L. Ravago Researcher and Report
Director for USC’s Operation and Education program.
Dr. Ravago informed us that USC received federal funding from Covered California to set up
various information desks in local community colleges that help students figure out the best
healthcare policy for their individual needs.
USC’s program has also enlisted Monarchs pre-med biology major Sasha Nadir and sociology
major Natali Miltcharek to go to various classrooms and educate students on Covered
Former ASU staffer Nadir explained that USC’s H.O.M.E (Health Outreach through Mobile
Education) alongside with S.T.E.M (Student Teaching Engagement Model) projects have
employed student like herself and Miltcharek as a peer to peer approach.
Dr. Darnell Cole is responsible for this public awareness campaign, and his project was awarded
$500,000 by Covered California health benefit exchange. Students being more approachable than
a random stranger is the strategy that makes cautious students feel more comfortable.
“Students who don’t already know about Covered CA are usually a little skeptical of our
intentions when we first approach them,” said Nadir. “But once we clear up some of the
misconceptions people have about Obama Care, the response is great.”
Alongside being ill-informed, most students are probably unaware that they might be eligible for
free health care based on their annual income.
According to Sasha, they have received great positive feedback from faculty and staff who have
been very supportive and appreciative of the work they are doing. Students who are interested in
enrolling are urged to make their way to the Student Services Center Conference room located in
between the counseling office and the administration building.
Covered CA reps are helping students in need of healthcare with the enrollment process, guiding
them through the procedure and mainstreaming the whole ordeal.
Dr. Ravago hopes that students in need of coverage apply before the deadline on March 15 to
choose a plan if they want to be covered in April. The last day to make a payment for coverage
in April is March 26. With the deadline only a few weeks away, the efforts of USC project
couldn’t haven’t been more effective.
“Covered CA attendant was very helpful,” said history major Martin Brown. “At answering my
question and clarifying the whole process.”
The information desk is available Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. if any Valley
student needs clarification or just has general questions about the process.