UC lifts caps on student health insurance

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — University of California officials have agreed to lift a cap on health insurance coverage that threatened to leave students with catastrophic illnesses such as cancer with big medical bills, it was reported Wednesday.

UC chancellors reached the agreement last week after hundreds of students and nine members of Congress voiced their opposition to the $400,000 lifetime coverage limit, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

"As someone who had to struggle to get access to lifesaving health care, and being barred from that due to the medical cap, I'm just ecstatic that future students won't have that dilemma," said Kenya Wheeler, a graduate student who lobbied for the change after he was diagnosed with brain cancer two years ago and maxed out his health coverage last year.

The cap was in place at eight campuses but not at the University of California, San Diego, and the University of California, Los Angeles. University officials said 11 students exceeded the cap last year.

The chancellors also agreed to lift a $10,000 cap on coverage for prescription drugs.

Students will have to pay more for the enhanced coverage when it takes effect in the fall, although the chancellors voted specifically not to raise premiums to cover a $57 million deficit in the self-funded plan, the newspaper said.

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