College requires more health insurance than Obamacare

My girlfriend’s university plan requires a $2,000 out of pocket maximum, and strict limits on how high the deductible can be. These limits are written for individual plans, but she can be covered on her family’s insurance through work. There’s no plan in the state her parents work in that satisfies the school’s requirements (even the platinum plans). Is what they are doing legal?

Co-Ed’s Friend

Dear Co-Ed’s Friend,

The short answer is yes, the university can make requirements of its students to have health insurance.  That they are requiring more than the health reform standard seems odd.  I would suggest that she and her parents talk to the university and explain that the plan they have meets health reform standards and fulfills their obligation to have insurance under all federal laws.  (They should have received a letter from the employer stating this.)

Perhaps the university’s concern is that the students will leave unpaid bills at the local clinics and hospitals if their plan has a high deductible.  Her parents could put in writing to the university that they will take responsibility for her bills, even though she may be a legal adult.
Instead of approaching the university to argue, they could ask why the school’s standards are different from federal law.  This might open up the real issue, and help everyone find a way to address it.

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Linda Riddell

About Linda Riddell

A published author and health policy analyst with 25 years’ experience, Linda Riddell's goal is to alleviate the widespread ailment of not knowing what your health plan can do for you.