Some students may not enjoy Obamacare protections
Some student health coverage may be exempt from the consumer protections of Obamacare, according to a proposed ruling.
February 2nd, 2013
05:00 AM ET

Some students may not enjoy Obamacare protections

By Jen Christensen, CNN

(CNN) - A couple of weeks ago, Micha Rahder got a disturbing letter. It said that she no longer had health insurance - and was required to as a graduate student at the University of California, Santa Cruz.The problem was - it was her own school's insurance policy that was dropping her.

Rahder, 30, was losing insurance because she had reached the lifetime limit of coverage under the University of California's student health insurance plan. She suffers from a rare disorder that requires her to get regular and expensive IV treatments every four weeks.

Without treatment for her chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy - a disease that attacks her nervous system - she has lost the ability to walk and has had to have a guest lecturer come in to teach her class. She said she can't understand why she's in this predicament.

Micha Rahder can't walk at the moment because she can't afford treatment for her illness without insurance.

"I initially thought Obamacare would take care of this, but somehow these schools have slipped out of it. I'm extremely frustrated," Rahder said. "Most people didn't know I was sick until this happened, and when I tell them why I'm sick, they can't believe it."

Had she been insured elsewhere, she might have been protected from losing her health care coverage.

Under the Obama administration's Affordable Care Act, or ACA, lifetime limits are supposed to be a thing of the past. But there are about 30 schools in the country, mostly in California and the Ivy League system, that offer students what is called self-funded student health insurance.

Instead of using an insurance company, a university runs the program, and student premiums directly pay for it. Experts say it's a complicated system to run, but it's ultimately a lot cheaper for a school, because it eliminates the middleman of an insurance company.

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Filed under: College • Health • Issues • Students