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Required health insurance would benefit university students, report says

TALLAHASSEE — Florida's public university students would benefit overall if they were required to have health insurance, but that would raise the cost of going to school for students who now lack coverage by 5 to 7 percent, legislative analysts said in a report Friday.

That added expense, though, would be far less than costs an uninsured student can face due to illness or injury, and mandatory insurance would be covered by financial aid for those who qualify, university officials said in written responses published with the report.

The Legislature's Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability says in the report that lawmakers have alternatives if they decide to order mandatory health insurance.

One would be to require all 11 schools to follow the example of Florida State University, the only public university that requires new students to have their own health coverage or obtain it from the school.

The other 10 universities already offer school-sponsored coverage on an optional basis. Premiums range from $518 to $1,687 per year depending on the benefits. Officials say premiums could be reduced if all students had to have insurance.

Other mandatory coverage options would be to require all students to have university-sponsored insurance or give each school the choice of whether to require insurance.

The congressional Government Accountability Office in 2006 reported 20 percent of college students nationwide lacked coverage. The state report says the 10 Florida universities without an insurance requirement have estimated between 15 percent and more than 40 percent of their students lack coverage.

Required health insurance would benefit university students, report says 12/11/09 [Last modified: Friday, December 11, 2009 10:39pm]
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