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Highlights

College students face challenges obtaining health insurance--they may not have access to insurance through an employer, and as they get older, they may lose dependent coverage obtained through a parent's plan. Federal law ensures continued access to health insurance for some, but not all, such students. Without health insurance, college students may be unable to pay for their health care, and the cost of this care may be passed on to federal and state payers, such as Medicaid. College students may have access to student insurance plans offered by their colleges. GAO was asked to report on uninsured college students, student insurance plans, and efforts to increase the number of insured students. GAO reviewed (1) college students' insurance status, (2) uninsured college students' characteristics, (3) the extent to which colleges offered student insurance plans and the characteristics of available plans, and (4) efforts to increase the number of insured students. GAO analyzed data from a national survey on college students' insurance status and uninsured college students' characteristics. GAO collected data from 340 colleges on the availability of student insurance plans and the characteristics of available plans, and also gathered detailed plan information from case studies of 10 colleges and interviews with experts and insurance industry officials. GAO also reviewed some states' laws.

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