WASHINGTON – Today, in a letter to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Azar, House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) called on the Department to take proactive steps to help more than 14 million displaced college students maintain access to health care coverage.
In the letter, the Members note that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many students who rely on health insurance plans sponsored by their colleges or universities may face a break in coverage as these institutions remain closed. The Members also expressed concern that HHS has declined to create a broader open enrollment period that would allow those in sudden need of health care to obtain coverage.
“Millions of students have been affected by COVID-19. They may not know how their existing coverage is impacted by the pandemic, whether their coverage extends to COVID-19-related benefits, or how to sign up for coverage if they do not already have it,” the Members wrote. “Informing college students about the full range of available health coverage opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic is not only of paramount importance to ensuring their health and safety, but also the health and safety of the communities in which they reside during this pandemic.”
Given the variety of state regulations on health insurance plans, the Members urge HHS to work closely with states to ensure self-funded student health insurance plans inform covered students about their current COVID-19 testing and treatment coverage. The Members also urge Azar to work with Department of Education Secretary DeVos to ensure that students and their families are fully aware of their health care coverage options.