Students enrolled in health insurance plans through their college or university would benefit from consumer protections created by the Affordable Care Act, under a new proposed rule announced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
About 1,500 to 2,000 colleges and universities offer some type of health insurance coverage, but the plans and their regulation vary widely, according to HHS. Some plans offer limited benefits with low annual dollar limits on health care services or have limited networks of health providers.
The proposed regulation would restrict insurers from imposing dollar limits on student health benefits and prohibit them from rescinding coverage because of a student's unintentional mistake on an application, and would prevent insurance companies from denying or excluding coverage for students under age 19 because of a pre-existing condition.
As part of the proposed regulation, HHS is requesting comments for how health care reform protections might apply to student health plans, including the choice of medical provider and the application of new medical loss ratio rules. Under new medical loss ratio requirements, group health insurance plans must spend at least 85 percent of premium dollars on patient care and health care quality improvement, as opposed to administration, marketing and profits.