Administration's Message to Graduates: Hey, Kids, Don’t Worry About Getting Your Own Health Insurance

Susan Jones | May 22, 2012 | 6:27am EDT
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A student naps during the address to graduates at Boston College commencement ceremonies in Boston on May 21, 2012. All of the men shown here received Bachelors of Science degrees from the university's Carrol School of Management. (AP Photo)

( - The Obama administration is reminding college graduates that as they focus on paying back their student loans in a tough economy, they don't need to worry about paying their own medical bills.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sent a letter to university presidents and student associations, urging them to spread the word: "The new health care law makes it possible for young adults under age 26 to remain on their parents’ health care plan if the policy covers dependent children."

Duncan and Sebelius are using the reminder to plug Obamacare, whose fate now rests with the U.S. Supreme Court.

Their letter notes that because of Obamacare, graduating students are now "free to make career choices based on what they want to do, not where they can get health insurance. That is why we are encouraging you to ensure that your graduating students are aware of this new option to get health care coverage."

Duncan and Sebelius noted that before Democrats passed their health care law in 2010, students often lost their health insurance coverage on graduation day.

"By partnering with school leaders, we hope more young Americans are aware of their options so they can access the care they need to stay healthy,” said Education Secretary Duncan in a news release. “Many graduates are focusing on paying back student loans in a tough economy – they don’t need to take on the cost of high medical bills, too.”

Sebelius said the Affordable Care Act gives students and their families "peace of mind about their health insurance." She refers to the Affordable Care Act as "the President's health law," saying it "gives hard-working, middle-class families the security they deserve.”

The letter to colleges and universities lists steps that colleges and universities can take to help deliver health care information to students, as follows:

-- Place a “badge” on the home page of your Web site that automatically links to information about how students can remain on their parents’ plan.

-- Distribute a flyer or brochure to students and their parents about this benefit along with graduation and career materials.

-- Encourage staff to talk with students about other health insurance options—including improvements to student health plans starting this summer thanks to the health care law—by visiting

-- Host a session to explain insurance options to your students.

-- Encourage students to visit HHS’s Facebook page with information for young adults and parents about health coverage for individuals under age 26.

"Working together, we can help ensure that even more students and new alumni are protected in case of a health emergency and have the coverage they need to stay healthy," the letter concludes.

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