Roughly 2,500 Vermont college students, spread across the state, were impacted by a two-year-long health insurance scheme, state regulators found.
Companion Life Insurance Company sold “unapproved and inadequate” health insurance to students at 10 colleges during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 academic years, the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation announced in a news release Tuesday.
The colleges included Burlington College, Champlain College, College of St. Joseph, Green Mountain College, Landmark College, Middlebury College, New England Culinary Institute, Norwich University, St. Michael’s College and Sterling College.
Companion failed to provide coverage mandated by Vermont consumer protection laws and the Affordable Care Act, including mental health and substance abuse treatment, preventive screenings and counseling, contraceptive management and coverage of athletic injuries.
This resulted in a reported “several hundred claims” being improperly denied over the course of those two academic years, footing medical bills on students and families.
The Vermont Department of Financial Regulation announced a $1.8 million settlement with the South Carolina-based company.
Of that amount, $481,243 will go toward restitution to students whose claims were improperly denied.
In addition, Vermont Legal Aid’s Office of the Health Care Advocate will use an estimated $225,000 to develop a targeted education campaign about student health insurance and assist the Department of Financial Regulation in delivering restitution to the impacted students.
At the moment, 212 students have been identified by the Department of Financial Regulation to receive restitution payments from Companion. The life insurance company is responsible for paying restitution to students not identified initially by the department.
For more information:
Students who purchased health insurance through these colleges or higher education between 2014 and 2016 and believe a medical claim may have been improperly denied can contact the Department of Financial Resources:
- DFR Consumer Services, firstname.lastname@example.org, (802) 828-3302 or (800) 964-1784
- Health Care Advocate Hotline, email@example.com, (800) 917-7787.
Contact Ethan Bakuli at (802) 556-1804 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @BakuliEthan.
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