Last Updated: September 8, 2009
It's called Michelle's Law, and if you have children in college, it's probably a law with which you should have some familiarity. This law, which was passed in 2008, is designed to ensure that dependent college students who take a medically necessary leave of absence do not lose health insurance coverage, according to Hewitt Associates.
The law was named after Michelle Morse, a college student who suffered from cancer and continued her course load, against the advice of doctors, in order to remain covered by health insurance, Hewitt reported.
Under the law, which becomes effective for insured and self-insured health plans on the first day of their plan year beginning on or after October 9, 2009, "coverage must be extended for the earliest of one year from the date of the student's medically necessary leave of absence or the date the coverage otherwise would have ended based on specific policy provisions" according to a Forefield release.
Michelle's law provides that a group health plan may not terminate a college student's health coverage simply because the child takes a medically necessary leave of absence from school or changes to part-time status. The leave of absence must: be medically necessary, commence while the child is suffering from a serious illness or injury and cause the child to lose coverage under the plan.
So what should you do given this new law? "While this law will only affect a small percentage of the population, it underscores the need to understand the myriad rules that are in place regarding health insurance and policy provisions," said FPA member, Joel A. Larsen, CFP®, of Navion Financial Advisors, LLC. "This is difficult at best, and speaks to the need to have a team of professionals working with you."
Financial planners can help you better understand your health insurance plan and Michelle's Law.