Employee Benefits Advisory: New Law Requires Continued Medical Coverage for Students on a Medical Leave of Absence


President Bush signed into law “Michelle’s Law”1 on October 9, 2008. The new law ensures continuity of medical coverage under parents’ plans for college students who take a medically necessary leave of absence from college.


Michelle’s Law was prompted by the case of Michelle Morse, a full-time college student who was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2003. Michelle was told that she would lose her medical coverage under her parents’ health insurance plan if she reduced her course load while undergoing chemotherapy treatment, because she would no longer qualify as a dependent child under the plan. Michelle was forced to remain in school as a full-time student while undergoing 14 rounds of chemotherapy. In 2005, Michelle lost her battle with cancer.2

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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