- A coalition of United State Senators has asked the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to issue clarifying guidance on how colleges and universities should approach offering health care subsidies or benefits to graduate students.
- The Affordable Care Act ended certain financial payout and coverage options for graduate students in 2010, but the federal exemptions from new benefits rules are set to expire at the end of the 2016-17 academic year.
- The senators call for more clarity in how graduate students who work for their institutions can receive benefits similar to undergraduate insurance plans, instead of falling under employment benefit rules and restrictions.
While elected officials may have stepped in to request support from a federal agency on student health care issues, the well-being of graduate students falls in part on colleges and universities while the federal government works out the kinks. To this point, institutions can help to expedite their efforts by finding ways to help students self-identify as ‘students’ or employees.
Additionally, the government’s ACA guidance is designed to stem opportunities for fraud in collecting health benefits or refunds. But in cases where extreme health scenarios can be documented, universities can help in monitoring claims by requiring that students utilize campus health facilities as a primary care resource.