FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Senator David Gottesman
(603) 271 – 2609
Thursday, May 25, 2006
CONCORD, NH – The New Hampshire Legislature passed the final version of HB 37, known as Michelle’s Law during session yesterday. This legislation would allow seriously ill college students to take a medical leave of absence without losing their health insurance.
Michelle’s Law is named for Michelle Morse, a college student who attended Plymouth State University and was forced to remain in school full-time while undergoing intense chemotherapy treatment for cancer.
Current law provides insurance coverage for dependents up to age 18. After that, coverage is available from the health insurance companies covering the student provided that the student remains 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.
“I became involved with this legislation after meeting AnnMarie Morse, Michelle's mother. Her dedication and tireless effort to pass this critical legislation was inspirational. I am pleased that we were able to strengthen the bill in the Senate and maintain the integrity of what Mrs. Morse was trying to accomplish. This important legislation will allow college students suffering from serious illness to take up to 12 months off from school without losing their 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 should not 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 House and 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.
"I am grateful to both the House and Senate for the passage of this bill," stated AnnMarie Morse. "This is a great day for New Hampshire families, and I will work to make sure this act is passed in all 50 states."