Student Healthcare Troubles

Most colleges require students to have health care when they enroll. If a student is not on his parents’ plan he essentially has to enroll in the healthcare plan offered by the school. The trouble is that it turns out most of those plans are kind of terrible. According to an article by Sara Lipka in the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Many colleges sponsor private health plans that result in excessive profits for insurers and inadequate coverage for students, the attorney general of New York, Andrew M. Cuomo, says in a report released on Thursday after a year-and-a-half-long investigation.

Citing “troubling practices” in the student-health-insurance industry, the attorney general also announced on Thursday that he had sent letters to more than 300 higher-education institutions in New York and across the country, urging them to review and modify their practices.

Specifically, Cuomo’s report charges that:

Some plans require students with pre-existing conditions that are uncovered to purchase the plan at its full price. Many plans also have extremely low coverage limits. For example, some plans cap all coverage at less than $25,000, while others have per-illness caps of as low as $700. Additionally, many plans either fail to include prescription drug coverage or limit such coverage to an inadequate level.

Many plans also fail to cover particularly common student troubles, like injures sustained while drunk.

Cuomo’s investigation, it’s important to point out, is exclusive to colleges in New York State, though there’s little reason to think that the quality of plans vary widely across states.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer