Colleges say new law puts student health plans in jeopardy

Colleges say new law puts student health plans in jeopardy
Colleges say new law puts student health plans in jeopardy

Many college and university officials are concerned that a new health law will put college-provided student health plans in jeopardy. According to an Aug. 12 letter sent to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) by the American Council on Education, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act includes provisions that could make it impossible for colleges to provide students with health care coverage.

The letter, specifically sent to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, addresses two primary issues in the act, signed into law in March. The first involves the "individual mandate" requirement, which says that individuals must have "minimum essential coverage." According to the letter, many student health plans -- traditionally only active during the school year -- don't meet the minimum requirement. The American Council on Education offers amendments to the law to ensure that college-provided student health plans are considered "minimum essential coverage."

The second issue outlined is "insurance market reforms," where the letter states concerns about being required to supply health insurance to non-students (although as reported by Kaiser Health News (KHN), critics say that this is highly unlikely).