nos-trum. pronunciation: \nos'-trum\. noun. Etymology: Latin, neuter of noster our, ours.
1. a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness.
2. a usually questionable remedy or scheme.
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Monday, September 27, 2010

Poison Pill #30-Something (I've Lost Count): College Health Plans Uncertain

Will the federal government require college health plans to cover abortion?  Will insurers offer plans that meet fed standards, but students don't need?

Apparently this is something else Congress didn't consider.  Many of you may remember the medical policies that your university required.  Students paid a comparatively small premium that would cover them for the period of the school year, at a rate of a few hundred dollars per semester.  Well, it's higher now, but still a bargain compared to a regular policy.

[the "requirement" to pay as a part of enrollment, and whether it should ever have existed, is another question.]

Also, the universities could taylor their policies to what students needed:  a defined term of coverage (the school year) for primarily catastrophic care (most colleges ran an outpatient clinic).  It was not intended to have a lot of preventive medicine provisions; they aren't needed by 20 year olds.

Now that the federal HCR mandate says that policies have to meet federal standards for coverage, it's not clear whether universities by law can offer plans that are at odds with the more comprehensive and longer term requirements of the new reform law.

duh...  Another high-water mark in Congressional incompetence.  To date, HHS has failed to clarify for the universities what they can do--despite written requests for guidance.  It's expected that politics will enter, as the Democrats will not want to give a waiver to colleges....undermining their goal of "the healthy pay for the sick, and everybody has to contribute."

Anticipating a financially unrewarding political answer, the insurance companies in some states are cancelling plans to sell policies to the schools.  In particular, Washington state is having trouble finding any takers for its schools.

Also, based on North Carolina's Board of Regents decision to require schools to meet federal standards, it's not clear whether those colleges have to support abortion coverage (as part of an exchange), requiring every student to pay premiums that provide that coverage.  Again, no answer yet.  But, I expect they will find a way to get around this conundrum.

Good old healthcare reform.  It always comes back to the costs and competence:  unsustainable on the former, and absent the latter.

Congress and HHS don't seem up to task of doing a good job.

Doc D

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