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Health Care and College Tuition: Look Again

If you’ve been paying tuition and, at the same time reviewing health care expenses for your children, you’ve noticed that many colleges and universities have been offering students health insurance from the school as a part of fees and tuitions. Depending upon the school and the insurance, some colleges have offered very attractive plans. Many parents and students have elected those plans for coverage. So, why now are some colleges and universities no longer offering health insurance plans for their students?

There are a number of reasons. Most of these are associated with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). But wasn’t that why colleges offered health care to begin with? Not really. In fact, the ACA is a large part of the reason that many colleges aren’t or are thinking of no longer offering health insurance to its students.

In order for colleges and universities to continue to offer health insurance plans to its students, these plans must comply with the “minimum essential benefits” as specified by the ACA. Many of the plans are not compliant with these ACA provisions and must add benefits. Adding the provisions means that the cost of these plans increases significantly for the insurance carriers, and therefore for the university and subsequently for students and parents.  Unlike public health care exchanges, there are no subsidies available when enrolling in coverage though a college or university which can make them an even more expensive alternative for student health insurance.

Given the fact that the ACA has made it mandatory for all individuals to have health insurance, what do parents and students do about coverage if there is no student health insurance option available?

For parents covered by an employer sponsored health insurance plan, adult children may remain participants until age 26. That is most often the best coverage for children, and most parents elect to keep their college age children on their plans. Health insurance exchanges are available and children can elect to remain on their parents exchange plan or enroll in individual coverage through the exchange.

Don’t assume that your child’s university will automatically “roll up” health insurance in your tuition bill. When that bill arrives, review it carefully.


For additional information, contact EAB HealthWorks.