Michelle’s Law Extends Coverage for Sick College Students Taking a Medical Leave
Michelle’s Law (HR-2851) was passed by Congress and signed into law by the President on October 3, 2008 as Public Law No: 110-381. Michelle’s Law requires group and individual health plans to continue covering otherwise eligible dependent children taking a medical leave of absence from a postsecondary educational institution (e.g., a college, university or vocational school) due to a serious illness or injury. Dependent children on a leave of absence must be covered until the earlier of one year from the first day of the leave of absence or the date on which the coverage otherwise would terminate.
- Defines “dependent child” as a dependent child, under the terms of the plan or coverage, who was enrolled in the plan or coverage on the basis of being a student at a postsecondary educational institution immediately before the first day of the medically necessary leave of absence
- Requires that health plans and insurers receive certification by the dependent child’s treating physician that the child is suffering from a serious illness or injury and that the leave of absence is medically necessary
- Requires health plans and insurers to include, with any notice about required certifications for student status for coverage, a description of the requirements under this new law for continued coverage during medically necessary leaves of absence
- Takes effect for plan years beginning on or after one year from the date the legislation was signed into law, October 9, 2009. For example, a group that renews on January 1, 2009 must be in compliance with the law by January 1, 2010.