Ave Maria University Will Drop Student Health Insurance
Published on Monday, 21 May 2012 18:50
Ave Maria University will no longer offer health insurance to students nor require them to carry it, university President Jim Towey said in a statement Monday in which he cited both moral objections as well as federal coverage mandates that would raise the cost of student insurance by 66 percent.
"It is a sad day when Ave Maria's students are forced to choose between enrolling in a health insurance plan that is both costly and offers morally objectionable benefits, and having no coverage at all," Mr. Towey said.
Ave Maria University has offered students optional health insurance since the school's inception and Mr. Towey said that although most students are covered by their parents' policies, about 15 percent bought insurance through the school.
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule in June on a lawsuit brought by more than 25 states opposing the federal health care plan's mandate that everyone must have insurance. Even though there is the possibility that the court could void the entire plan, Mr. Towey said that AMU needed to decide now so that students who needed to purchase insurance would have time to do so before policies expire Aug. 14.
Other universities for whom the moral implications are not an issue also are concerned about the increasing cost of providing insurance coverage to students. "I think all universities are struggling with this," Mike Rollo, vice president for student affairs at Florida Gulf Coast University told the Naples Daily News.
The announcement by AMU on Monday does not affect insurance for employees of the university although Mr. Towey has said the university "will not comply" with mandates requiring such plans to cover contraceptives and other services that Catholics oppose on moral grounds. Separately, AMU is suing the federal government over those mandates, and more than 40 other Catholic dioceses and organizations filed similar lawsuits Monday, including the archodioceses of New York and Washington, D.C., the University of Notre Dame and the Catholic University of America. The diocese of Venice is not a party to any suits, spokesman Billy Atwell told The Ave Herald in an email.
"It is regrettable that the long-standing tradition in America, advanced by presidents and Congressional majorities of both political parties, of protecting the religious liberty and conscience rights of individuals and organizations, is now under fierce attack, and that college students, particularly those attending religiously-affiliated institutions, are among its first victims," Mr. Towey said.
Click here for the full text of Ave Maria University's announcement.
Click here for story and links on the lawsuits filed across the country from Catholic World News.
Click here for a list from the Washington Post of dioceses and other institutions filing suit today.
Click here for the legal filing from the Archdiocese of New York.