ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Many college-sponsored health plans offer students inferior coverage at excessive cost, state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said on Thursday.
He said many plans, which are often mandatory at colleges, don’t provide the level of coverage students need. They seem like low-cost options for the schools to offer students, but since insurers pay out so little for benefits the plans can be lucrative for the insurance industry.
”A bad health insurance plan can have catastrophic and long-lasting effects on a young person’s life,” Cuomo said in a statement. ”By being informed of the problematic practices that currently exist in the industry, schools can negotiate for better health plans.”
Many don’t cover common health problems that students face, such as injuries sustained while drunk or attempting suicide. Some plans cap all coverage at less than $25,000, while others have per-illness caps of as low as $700. Many don’t include prescription drug coverage or dramatically limit that coverage.
Cuomo sent a letter to more than 300 schools, advising them to review their sponsored student health insurance plans and correct potential situations where coverage was overpriced, or so minimal it would put students at risk.
The school-sponsored student health insurance industry generates more than $1 billion of revenue per year, and about 1 million students nationwide get health insurance through such plans, Cuomo’s office said.
The plans can cost students less than $100 a year, or as much as $2,500, Cuomo said.
The office has subpoenaed 10 of the largest insurers of students and five insurance brokers, agents, and consultants as part of the investigation.
(By New York Times)