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Students Gain Big Victory With New Protections under the Health Care Law


This blog was originally written and posted by Jen from Young Invincibles.

Today the Department of Health and Human Services released proposed rules  that would apply the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) consumer protections to college health plans starting in 2012. College students will be guaranteed the same consumer protections and benefits as all Americans.  This is an exciting moment for both Young Invincibles and other young advocates; it is a step that our members advocated for and strongly support, and that college students have fought for over the course of many years.

The regulations would protect students by making clear that college health plans must meet the same basic standards as all individual insurance plans. 
 For Sara, 22, of San Diego State University, this means that she would be free of the $500 per year over-the-counter prescription cap set by her college health plan, and so that plan would become a viable option for her to help control her Type 1 Diabetes.

With college health plans regulated under ACA, students wouldn’t be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition starting in 2014,  students won’t get dropped from their plan when they get sick, or go bankrupt because they get sick and exceed benefit caps. Moreover, college plans must meet an 80% medical loss ratio, so students will receive rebates if too little of their premiums dollars are spent on real care.  College health plans will also have to provide free preventive care, with no cost-sharing.

Taken together, these changes would represent a major step forward for student health plans. But more work needs to be done to make the proposed regulations a reality. Insurance companies will fight to keep benefits low and their profits high. Students must continue their work and push HHS to finalize the proposed rules, thereby ensuring that students receive the same protections under the ACA as all Americans.   Stay tuned for more to come on how you can help!