Beacon Hill Lawmakers Consider Mandatory Student Health Insurance

BOSTON — State lawmakers held a public hearing Thursday on a bill that would require every full and part-time college student in Massachusetts to have the basic health insurance required by the state’s health care law.

The legislation would fine universities that fail to ensure their students.

Haley Schwartz, a member of the Student Health Organizing Coalition and a senior at Tufts, will testify in support of a plan that would help schools build partnerships to buy cheaper and better health insurance.

“Some students have stories that we’ve heard of where they just have not bought prescriptions because they can’t afford it,” Schwartz said. “They can’t even afford the high co-pays because of what the plans cover.”

A recent state review found that student policies make insurance companies an average profit of 30 cents per dollar. Plans offered to the general public average just 12 cents per dollar.

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  • Nicholas Herold

    Unfortunately, the piece doesn’t put the legislation heard on Thursday in context by failing to mention that, since 1989, Massachusetts has required every college or university student at seventy-five percent or more to have health insurance coverage. Long before the health care reform of 2006, students had to be insured!

    The bill that was heard would eliminate a loophole that has permitted a specific type of student-specific insurance product. The product, called a qualifying student health insurance program, or QSHIP, is believed by most student advocates to be inadequate for the variety of insurance needs of students.

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