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Government says student health plans must comply with Affordable Care Act Posted: February 10th, 2011

By Maryalene LaPonsie

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has proposed regulations to ensure student health plans will comply with health-reform provisions. The department estimates between 1,500 and 2,000 higher education institutions offer student health insurance, but the current level of coverages offered varies significantly, HHS said.

In a press release, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said rules would "ensure that these plans remain a viable, affordable option for students while guaranteeing that they are regulated consistently and offer transparent benefits to students."

Three student health insurance protections included in the rule:

  1. Elimination of lifetime limits for medical coverage
  2. Prohibition against dropping coverage because a subscriber becomes sick or makes an unintentional mistake on the insurance application
  3. Elimination of pre-existing condition exclusions for plan members younger than 19 years old

Student health plans that become effective prior to September 23, 2012 will be allowed to have annual dollar limits of no less than $100,000 for essential health benefits. In addition, health insurance companies will be required to clearly inform students whether a plan meets Affordable Care Act requirements, the HHS said.