April 2010 Health Care Reform Update #2 - ACHA Collaborating with Higher Ed Associations and Industry Regarding SHIBPs

04/30/10.The American College Health Association (ACHA) continues to collaborate and work on behalf of its members to preserve quality/comprehensive student health insurance/benefit plans (SHIBPs) as the implementation phases of recently enacted health care reform legislation begin. Weekly meetings between the ACHA president, president-elect, Advocacy Coalition chair, Student Health Insurance Coalition chair, ACHA’s legislative consulting firm, and the national office staff help to ensure continued focus on implementation developments – in the Department of Health and Human Services and elsewhere – that may impact SHIBPs in the future. Additionally, ACHA continues its collaboration with the American Council on Education (ACE), Association of American Universities (AAU), and the Association of Public Land-Grant Universities (APLU), as well as external resources available to them, to remain fully informed and engaged.

On May 11, 2010, ACHA will host a stakeholders conference call involving approximately 10 higher education associations, two advocacy groups, insurance consultants, and representatives from several companies in the insurance industry to assess the impacts of the legislation on SHIBPs, identify mutual concerns, and formulate strategies going forward as the implementation rules begin to be written and disseminated.

On May 19, 2010, ACHA’s president, Jim Turner, MD, FACHA, will participate in a panel presentation at the APLU Council on Government Affairs. This meeting will be attended by many of the most active lobbyists and congressional affairs staffers from the major public higher education institutions in the nation. The goal of this initiative is to foster a collective understanding of the issues regarding SHIBPs and to hopefully establish a unified voice going forward, not only from the higher education associations but also from major institutions around the country.

During the ACHA Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, there will also be a Health Care Reform Update presented to interested attendees. It will provide background, perspective, and further information that has become available on the issues.

Underlying all of our efforts continues to be a steadfast commitment to preserving comprehensive student health insurance plans that conform to ACHA’s guidelines document Standards for Student Health Insurance/Benefits Programs [pdf], last revised in March 2008. Throughout our lobbying activities and discussions with congressional staff, we have supported the continuation of these quality plans, not the substandard plans that have been called to the attention of many in recent stories from the news media. To be clear, ACHA supports all efforts to eliminate low quality plans, and we stand behind our guidelines calling for comprehensive and affordable student health insurance plans.

ACHA will continue to provide periodic updated information as implementation unfolds.