Dept. of Health Extends Health Insurance Coverage to 3 Million College Students

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced a proposal to offer additional benefits to college student health care plans. These new benefits, which will be offered through the Affordable Healthcare Act of 2010, could provide an additional three million college students with access to health insurance.

The Basics of the Proposal

The HHS division director, Steve Larson, held a conference call with college media outlets this week, discussing the effect of the proposed provisions in health care reform. In the proposal are provisions to:

  • Discontinue pre-existing conditions and medication exclusion policies on Jan. 1, 2012.
  • Ban lifetime benefit caps effective Jan. 1, 2014.
  • Require college and university health care plans to meet an 80 cents per dollar ratio with 80 cents paying for health care, not administration costs.

The provisions in the proposal are expected to help three million students if approved.

The Proposal Will Fill Health Care Reform Gaps

The idea for the proposal is to provide extra protections to college students who are not currently protected by the national health care law.

While the new law will help students who are currently covered by their parents by allowing them to remain on their policies until the age of 26, the students who are not covered by parents will have no protections under health care reform.

Since many colleges and universities provide student health insurance options as paid for through tuition costs, many students do have access to reasonable health care and even dental options.

But as Larson noted in the conference call, “America’s young people are more than 20 percent more likely to go without health insurance,” largely due to limitations like pre-existing conditions, lifetime benefit caps and medication exclusions.

Larson says the HHS hopes to make sure the proposal will result in coverage for students falling in the gaps, providing everyone access to quality health care options.