Contact: Senator Carl Johnson

(603) 271 – 2111

Contact: Senator David Gottesman

(603) 271 – 2609

April 6, 2006

Concord , NH– The New Hampshire State Senate unanimously passed House Bill 37, known as Michelle’s Law during session today. This legislation would allow seriously ill college students to take a leave of absence without losing their health insurance.

Michelle’s Law is named for Michelle Morse, a college student,who attended Plymouth State Universityand was forced to remain in school full-time while under going intense chemotherapy treatment for cancer.

Current law provides insurance coverage for dependents up to age 18. After that, coverage is voluntary by insurance company provided that they remain a full-time college student. If a college student becomes severely ill and is forced to drop full-time status due to a medical condition, they lose their insurance coverage at the time they need it the most.

“This important legislation will allow college students suffering from serious illness to take up to 12 months off from school without losing their parent’s health care coverage,” stated Senator David Gottesman (D- Nashua). “Michelle Morse faced many obstacles, and the threat of losing health insurance just as she needed it the most shouldn’t have been one of them. This law will ensure that no other college student must choose to either compromise their care, or lose health insurance.”

The amended version of Michelle’s Law, passed by the Senate, broadens and lengthens the coverage that is available to full-time college students if they become the victim of a serious illness and need to take a medical leave from school.

Senator Carl Johnson (R- Meredith) concluded, “New Hampshire needs to protect its’ children whenever possible and HB 37 allows college students and their parents to sleep easier at night. Students should not be worrying about attending classes and making good grades to sustain their full-time status in college, while enduring serious medical treatment.”