Thursday, October 15, 2009

New Law Protects Students from Losing Health Care Coverage

A federal law which came into effect Friday will help protect full-time college students from losing their health insurance in the event of a serious medical issue.

Whether students remain on their parents' plans, which are typically employer-subsidized, or transfer to an institutional plan (one provided through the college), Michelle's Law permits students to retain coverage for twelve months if a serious illness forces them to take a reduced schedule or a leave of absence.

The law was named after Michelle Morse, a New Hampshire college student diagnosed with cancer who maintained a full college course load so she could remain on her parent’s health insurance, despite her doctor's recommendation to leave school while undergoing chemotherapy. Michelle lost her battle with cancer shortly after graduation.

This law will be a relief for many students unable to afford insurance in the individual market, especially when many could be denied coverage because they have a serious illness which would be considered a pre-existing condition.

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