ACHA Health Care Reform Update- June 2010:

06/15/10.ACHA was among several key higher education associations represented at a Health Care Reform meeting at the White House, June 2, 2010.  Attending the meeting on behalf of the association were then ACHA President James Turner, MD and ACHA’s Washington Counsel Randy Nuckolls of McKenna, Long & Aldridge, LLP.  Hosting the meeting was Nancy-Ann DeParle, Director of the White House Office of Health Reform and Christina Tchen, Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.   Other associations participating in the meeting included the American Council on Education (ACE), Association of American Universities (AAU), Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR), and National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO).

Ms. DeParle called the meeting to gauge support for implementation of elements of the new federal health reform legislation in the higher education community.  Of key concern was implementation of the age 26 coverage of adult children on parental employer sponsored health plans.  All attendees assured the White House that the higher education community supported this new provision and were intending to implement the features by the federally mandated deadline.

In soliciting issues from higher education, Ms. DeParle was fully informed of ACHA's concern about preserving high quality college health insurance/benefits plans as group-rated plans.  All associations endorsed this as the major concern for higher education as regulations are drafted in the next few months.

Ms. DeParle assured the meeting attendees there was never any intent to compromise health services or health insurance plans for college students.  She understood that the age 26 coverage of adult children could mitigate insurance concerns for students, however, ACHA emphasized that enrolling adult children on parental plans can create certain issues for plan enrollees including:  limited benefits when seeking out of network care from the college community specialists and hospitals, potential lack of maternity benefits for women on parental plans, no medical evacuation or repatriation benefits if travelling or studying abroad, and confidentiality concerns from student beneficiaries on parental plans. 

Director DeParle assured the group that issues related to college health were now on her ‘radar screen’, and offered to assist us in assuring that the health reform implementing regulations will be written to preserve our ability to offer high quality, cost effective, group-rated student health plans.  ACHA will be working with ACE, AAU, APLU and others to follow-up with the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services to provide further feedback about the regulatory language.