A regents finance committee approved the increase on Thursday, and the proposal will go before the full board of regents on Tuesday.
The expansion in health insurance coverage mandated by President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act is causing an increase in premiums in most student insurance plans around the country, student health and counseling director Beverly Kloeppel told the Journal last month.
About 2,000 UNM students, including student employees such as graduate assistants, are covered by the school insurance program.
Reasons for the rising student premiums include an expansion of the kinds of care companies must insure and significant increases in the amount of medical costs insurers will be required to cover.
Next year, insurers can impose a limit of no less than $100,000 in costs they will cover. The year after, that amount will rise to $500,000 and the year after that there will be no annual limit, meaning insurance companies will be forced to cover all costs accrued by a student.
When UNM’s current insurance carrier announced large increases this year, the university teamed up with the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology to search for a new vendor that would have a larger pool of students to insure, which could mean lower premiums, Kloeppel said.
Five companies applied, and the contract will be awarded to Texas-based Macori, Inc., pending regents approval.
Kloeppel said the increase could mean fewer students opt for UNM’s plan. The Affordable Care Act also has increased the age limit for youths covered by their parents’ insurance to 26, she added, and that means more students can stay insured by their parents’ employer.
Students aren’t the only ones who will be affected by changes imposed by the ACA. Insurance premiums for regular UNM employees, who are covered under a different program, will increase by 8.5 percent. UNM will also pay some of those costs, increasing the amount it pays by another 8.5 percent.
— This article appeared on page A1 of the Albuquerque Journal