N.J. may end requirement that college students carry health insurance

A measure that would scrap a health insurance mandate for college students in New Jersey is making its way through the state Legislature.

The legislation eliminates the requirement that full-time students at all colleges and universities maintain health insurance coverage that provides basic hospital benefits.

The bare-bones policy now offered to students costs about $200 a year, but the federal Affordable Care Act means enhanced coverage will be needed, according to Jake Farbman with the New Jersey Council of County Colleges.

“We’re looking at estimates of the cost to students being anywhere between $1,500 and $2,000 a year,” Farbman said. “When you look at the fact that our community college tuition and fees across the state is about $4,000, that’s about a 50 percent tuition increase.”

Farbman says the added costs might make tuition unaffordable for students.

He says many students really don’t need the insurance the colleges offer because they’re covered under their parents’ health plan until they’re 26 years old.

The measure awaits action in the state Assembly.

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