The state senate recently passed Senate Bill 1168 in order to aid sick college students. The bill, known as “Michelle’s Law,” will allow dependent college students to take up to 12 months medical leave with a physician’s signed consent. This even includes students who are covered by their parents’ health insurance plans.
In addition, this effectively means that students can be absent from school or reduce course load to part-time and still be covered. This is important to students who, due to a medical condition, can no longer be full-time students. UC Davis students are covered by the Student Health Insurance Plan unless they opt to use another plan. Under SHIP, students who have to leave school or reduce their load are covered until the end of the quarter, at which point they can opt to extend their health coverage – at non-student rates.
This bill represents an important step by legislators in regard to aiding college students who are already under the heavy burden of paying for an increasingly expensive education. Students who contract serious ailments should not be penalized for their misfortune by increased health care costs.
One of the most important aspects of SB 1168 is that it solves multiple problems at the same time. Not only does it allow for extended coverage for students under university specific health care plans, but it also accounts for students covered under their parents’ health care as well. If such a student becomes seriously ill, some companies will continue to provide for them for a set amount of time while others stop accounting for them immediately. This bill solves that problem by making the fate of students facing prolonged infirmity universal: You have 12 months medical leave no matter what your health plan is.
It is encouraging to see that health care companies such as Blue Cross support the bill. In order to have an enlightened workforce and population, we need to have an educated workforce and population. Students should be focusing on their class work while in school, which is exactly what this bill is aims to do. The Aggie Editorial Board hopes that this bill successfully goes through appropriations and is eventually signed into law by the governor.