Health Care Reform and College Health - Update

03/26/10. Last evening, the United States Senate, and subsequently the House of Representatives, approved the final amendments to the health care reform bill that was earlier passed on March 21, 2010, clearing the way for President Obama’s final signature on national health reform legislation.  These final steps represent the culmination of over a year of drafting, negotiation and amending of one of the most significant pieces of health care legislation in our country’s history.  The American College Health Association (ACHA), along with several partner associations, has been actively monitoring, analyzing and advocating on behalf of the collective interests of our students and college health.

The advocacy efforts of ACHA and its partners have resulted in language in the bill that will preserve the ability of our colleges and universities to continue to provide our students with access to quality university sponsored health plans that so many of our students rely upon.  A “rule of construction” was included in the bill to support that legislative intent.

Additional advocacy efforts have focused on protecting the ability of college health insurance plans to continue to benefit from the “group price” rating that has been essential to maintaining affordability of many of our college health insurance plans.  Because of the way in which group coverage is defined in the legislation, it is not crystal clear that college plans would continue to be group-rated; however, we believe that the “rule of construction” establishes that intent, and it will play a critical role as the administrative rules are developed in preparation for implementation.

ACHA will continue to analyze the final legislation to further understand its impact to our environment.  Many of its provisions will not go into effect until 2014; however, ACHA will continue its vigilant advocacy efforts as we enter the implementation phase of health care reform.  We look forward to contributing to the development of the administrative rules and any subsequent technical amendments to the health care reform legislation.