Mandatory health insurance for college students questioned

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DENVER — The cost of a college education is staggering enough. And one mother told the FOX31 Problem Solvers her son almost had to drop out of Metro State University of Denver when the school added a huge bill, not for education, but for mandatory health insurance to his tuition.

“It’s outrageous, outrageous — $1,200 for one semester,” she said.

Her son is already covered under her insurance. But he didn’t notice the form requiring him to show documentation, and Metro State added the $1,200 to his bill and threatened to take him to collections if he didn’t pay.

“I ended up borrowing money from family and friends so he could go to school,” she said.

Metro State, like most universities requires students to provide proof of insurance or sign up for health insurance through them.

In Colorado, it can cost up to nearly $2,000 per semester and in many cases it’s with private, for-profit health insurance companies.

Sen Owen Hill, R-Colorado Springs, the chairman of the State Senate education committee, said he has received several calls and letters from other frustrated parents and students.

Hill said mandatory health insurance for students has been in place for years, but there seem to be a lot of new questions.

He is going to convene a special legislative hearing to get some answers.

“I want to make sure the Colorado consumer is protected,” he said. “I don’t think this is necessarily the role of colleges and universities to automatically take this out of people’s paychecks.”

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