UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA: Mandatory Insurance Plan the Right Call
Concerning the University of California's recent decision requiring students to have health insurance, a Sacramento Bee editorial states that if this "mandate can be structured so that it keeps students in school and doesn't price any out of enrollment, UC will have given the whole system a dose of preventive medicine." The editorial argues that many underinsured or uninsured students have delayed treatment of chronic illnesses, causing "great risks" to their health and preventing them from keeping up with their studies. Furthermore, some are forced to drop out of school and find work to pay their medical bills, the editorial notes, citing UC statistics that show 25% of the roughly 4,500 students who withdrew from classes in the past four years did so for medical reasons. These withdrawals cost the schools money in lost tuition and the $3,000 administrative cost of replacing a student, the Sacramento Bee points out. Despite the proposal's favorable arguments, the editorial acknowledges that the insurance requirement "won't come without costs to students and their families" and calls on "individual campuses, which will choose their own student insurance plans ... to ensure the coverage is affordable to all." If insurance, at an estimated cost of $450 a year, is included as part of students' financial aid packages, then "the benefits should far outweigh the costs," the editorial surmises (9/21).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.