Lawmakers Consider Nixing Mandatory Health Insurance For N.J. College Students

Ann McClure's picture
Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What’s more important? Affordable higher education or health care coverage?

That’s the question lawmakers are weighing as they consider controversial legislation that would eliminate New Jersey’s requirement that all college students have health insurance in order to attend class.

College officials are pushing lawmakers to kill the law because the implementation of Obamacare is driving up the cost of the basic health insurance plans offered to uninsured students by their schools. The jump in premiums — from a few hundred dollars this school year to more than $1,700 next year in some cases — could force some students to drop out.

Meanwhile, health care advocates are warning eliminating New Jersey’s mandatory health insurance rule for more than 600,000 college students could be disastrous to the state’s campuses. Uninsured students who can’t afford to go to the doctor might spread illnesses in dorms and classroom or end up in emergency rooms looking for taxpayer-funded charity care.

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