UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA: Regents to Vote on Mandatory Student Health Insurance
The University of California Regents are expected to vote today on a policy that would require all students to have health insurance, the Los Angeles Times reports. The move would affect students at all nine UC campuses, making it the first multi campus system in the nation with a policy requiring health coverage. Officials estimate about 40% of the 136,000 undergraduate students statewide do not carry adequate insurance. Modeled after a program already in place at UC-Berkeley and UC-Santa Cruz, the rule would require students to have coverage that is accepted locally and covers more services than those offered at university clinics (Glionna, 9/14). Students could purchase a campus medical insurance program at an estimated cost of $400 to $800 per year or prove that they have private coverage prior to enrolling. UC-Irvine Assistant Vice Chancellor Thomas Parham said, "We are trying to make sure that students have adequate coverage to deal with their health problems. We estimate the 50% to 55% of students who utilize our health center don't have insurance." The current proposal has been in the works since 1992, but never materialized due to concerns "about fee increases and budgetary problems." Officials said health costs for students should be lower under mandatory coverage because students generally are in good health. Still, some students expressed concern about the mandate. UCI senior Theresa Chan said, "That's a lot of money when you already have to pay for rent and tuition and everything else." University officials said the costs could be included in financial-aid packages (Fisher, Orange County Register, 9/12).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.