It’s impor­tant, how­ever, to check specifics. Self-​​insured col­lege plans — those in which the school pays claims directly, instead of hiring an insur­ance com­pany to do so — don’t have to meet the law’s essential-​​benefits require­ment, said Sara Collins, a health insur­ance expert at the Com­mon­wealth Fund.

But again, some col­leges are meeting them anyway. North­eastern Uni­ver­sity in Boston, for instance, says that even though it is self-​​insured, its health plan will include ben­e­fits that “meet or exceed” the law’s requirements.

(There had been con­cern that stu­dents eli­gible for stu­dent health plans at self-​​insured schools — which are in the minority — wouldn’t qualify for finan­cial help on the new state-​​based health exchanges, which open for busi­ness Oct. 1 for cov­erage starting in Jan­uary. But the fed­eral gov­ern­ment cleared up that con­fu­sion in recent reg­u­la­tions. As long as stu­dents at self-​​insured col­leges don’t enroll in the school’s health plan, they may still qualify for sub­si­dized cov­erage on an exchange, according to Kaiser Health News.)


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