The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Friday released the final rules on student health plans issued as part of the Affordable Care Act, the health care reform bill signed into law in 2010.
Although recent discussion around these rules has focused on contraception, they cover a much broader area and will impact most students and campuses in the coming months. Major provisions include:
- Benefit caps can be no lower than $100,000 in the 2012-13 academic year and $500,000 in the 2013-14 academic year. After 2013-14, the cap will be eliminated completely.
- The medical loss ratio (the percentage of premiums that must be spent on health care programs and quality improvement) must be at least 70 percent in 2013 and 80 percent in 2014.
- The final rule notes that self-funded student health plans cannot be included in this regulation without a change in law. Additionally, the final rule clarifies that the student health plans of non-profit religious institutions of higher education qualify for a one-year transition from the new contraceptive coverage requirement, similar to nonprofit employers.
The proposed rules were published in the Federal Register on Feb. 11, 2011. ACE and a group of higher education associations sent a letter March 2 to HHS and the White House, requesting HHS immediately issue the final version of the proposed rules. The groups noted that the delay was causing problems for some campuses in their contract negotiations for student health insurance coverage for the 2012-13 academic year.
The final rules will be published in the March 21 Federal Register.
For further reading:
New Rules for Health Plans
Inside Higher Ed
New Contraceptive Policy for Religious Colleges Would Cover Some Student Health Plans
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Another Hurdle for Health Reform’s Contraceptives Mandate
The Washington Post (free reg. req.)