Legislation steps up insurance options

The Department of Health and Human Services, HHS, released a new rule in the Affordable Care Act this past week, ensuring that all students will have more freedom and control over their health care decisions through more consumer protections.

“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, college students will have more control over their health care,” said Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of health and human services.

The proposed rules for the Affordable Care Act make it clear that all students who purchase health care through their university will benefit from the new consumer protections in the law.

There will no longer be lifetime limits on coverage expenditures for health benefits, students will not be dropped from current coverage if they become ill, and insurance coverage will no longer be denied for students under the age of 19 with pre-existing conditions.

“My friend is 17 and has cancer; with this new ruling, she will finally be able to get affordable health care when she enters UH next year,” business graduat Krista Goodwin said.

Many students purchase university health care when they do not have family medical plans or insurance is unaffordable. However, what benefits are covered in these current plans varies from university to university.

Last semester UH had 4,044 enrolled in the UH medical plan and this new decision will mandate clearer benefit coverage.

“This rule would ensure that these past plans remain a viable, affordable option for students while guaranteeing that they are regulated consistently and offer transparent benefits to students,” Sebelius said.

Most student health plans offer limited benefits with low annual dollar limits they can spend on health care, or limits doctors access to smaller networks and other health care providers.

For many students, these health plans are their only health insurance option.

The Affordable Care Act will now allow HHS to take steps to create insurance stability and further regulate that student health plans remain at low rates until all Americans have new coverage options through the state-based programs coming in 2014.

With the new ruling, students are allowed to have annual dollar limits for necessary health benefits of no less than $100,000 for policy years beginning before Sept. 23, 2012.

Student health plans with policy years beginning after that date must fully comply with the Affordable Care Act’s annual limit restrictions.

“The Affordable Care Act has expanded an already controversial issue regarding medical care in the US,” Adam Canow, a marketing UH-Downtown student, said. “Many are in favor to allow college students to have more privileges and benefits true, but there are others who are concerned as to how the plans will be paid, or who will pay them.”

For more information on the new proposed rule, visit

For additional details about the new patient protections created under the Affordable Care Act, visit

For specific questions regarding how the new rulings will benefit your existing UH insurance plan, contact the UH Health Center directly at (713) 743-5137.

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