UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA: Regents Approve Mandatory Health Insurance
The UC Board of Regents passed by voice vote yesterday a proposal requiring all University of California students to have health insurance, the Sacramento Bee reports. Scheduled to take effect in fall 2001, the plan requires students to purchase a plan through the campus, at a cost of $400 to $500 per year, or provide proof of outside coverage. Although little debate preceded the vote, Regent Judith Hopkinson expressed concern over the measure. She said, "This is devastating, it will mean that some students won't come to UC" (Hardy, 9/15). Some students agreed with Hopkinson, saying that while they understand the reasoning for mandatory health coverage, the requirement is "intrusive." Steve Davey, a member of UCLA's student government, said, "A lot of students are going to be worried by this because a lot of students can't afford health insurance. Hillary Clinton tried the same thing on a national scale and people on both sides of the spectrum rejected that idea" (Locke, AP/San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/15). Justin Fong, the student regent, added, "I'm wary of mandating something where we're not sure of the costs, what we're going to get and what harm it may cause" (Sacramento Bee, 9/15). The mandatory health coverage plan was developed in response to a UC Advisory Committee on Student Health, which found that 40% of undergraduates are uninsured or underinsured ( San Francisco Chronicle, 9/15). Each campus will be responsible for developing its own plan and negotiating premiums. The cost of health coverage will be worked into students' financial aid packages, according to UC Vice President of Health Affairs Michael Drake. The vote makes UC the first multi-campus system to mandate a student health coverage policy (Sacramento Bee, 9/15).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.