University of California To Require Students To Get Health Insurance
University of California regents voted last month to make insurance a mandatory requirement for students, believed to be the first such requirement by a major U.S. university system.
The insurance issue stemmed from concerns about the estimated 40 percent of undergraduates who have inadequate or no coverage. Twenty-five percent of the system’s annual dropouts are due to medical issues, with a significant portion due to insurance problems, a report found.
The requirement passed by voice vote with little debate, although Regent Judith Hopkinson registered her opposition. Hopkinson said she was worried the requirement would be a financial burden to some.
Students who don’t have their own insurance will be able to buy coverage from their campuses for between $400 and $500 a year. Financial assistance is available for needy students. The measure was endorsed by the Associated Students of the University of California, but some students have said they think the requirement is too much.
Michael Drake, UC vice president for health affairs, says campuses will try to help students afford the coverage. But he says the costs of going without health insurance are far greater. Health insurance is already mandatory for all graduate and international students at UC and for undergraduates at UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz. Officials from those campuses say students have welcomed the coverage.
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