No, you can’t keep it: Franciscan University drops student coverage.

Author’s note: After a discussion in the comments and investigation on my part I have added a postscript clarifying something that may have been inaccurate but was not. Cheers.


“If you like your health care coverage you can keep it. ”

In various phrasings this was one of the more oft-repeated reasons  we were given to support, or at least not to oppose, Obamacare. But like so many other things that have come out of this administration, it also turns out not to be true.

To be sure, the President and HHS are not forcibly kicking anyone off their health insurance plan. Yet. But we knew before the ink was dry that companies would very likely have a financial incentive to drop health care coverage altogether and dump their employees onto the public exchanges.

No, we were told, that wouldn’t be the case. Lo and behold: it is the case.

Even after paying a penalty of $2,000 per employee, the companies [surveyed] stand to save $28.6 billion in 2014 alone by shifting employees to health insurance exchanges governed by strict federal standards. The companies stand to save more than $422 billion over the first 10 years of the law by doing this.

So that’s one way Obamacare brings about “you” losing the health care plan that you like. Employers, until Obamacare was passed, were not compelled to offer health insurance but they did do because it is expected and good for business—good luck getting top-notch employees if health insurance coverage is not among the benefits. Under Obamacare employers can both assure that employees have health insurance coverage by dumping them onto the exchanges, and can save lots of money and headache. Win-win.

But now there is another device by which Obamacare violates the “if you like it you can keep it” pledge: the HHS Mandate.

See, part of reason I like my current health insurance plan offered by my employer, Franciscan University of Steubenville, is that it does not waste money on things I will never use because they are morally repugnant to me, like contraceptives, sterilization, and abortifacients. The HHS mandate purports to force me into a plan that I do not want rather than the plan I’ve been very happy with. But that’s a still-pending issue because of the one-year extension given (not that we will comply even after a year, of course).

But a more-present impact of the mandate directly affects students. The following is now posted on Franciscan’s  “Student Health Insurance Plan” page:

The Obama Administration has mandated that all health insurance plans must cover “women’s health services” including contraception, sterilization, and abortion-causing medications as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Up to this time, Franciscan University has specifically excluded these services and products from its student health insurance policy, and we will not participate in a plan that requires us to violate the consistent teachings of the Catholic Church on the sacredness of human life.

Additionally, the PPACA increased the mandated maximum coverage amount for student policies to $100,000 for the 2012-13 school year, which would effectively double your premium cost for the policy in fall 2012, with the expectation of further increases in the future.

Due to these changes in regulation by the federal government, beginning with the 2012-13 school year, the University 1) will no longer require that all full-time undergraduate students carry health insurance, 2) will no longer offer a student health insurance plan, and 3) will no longer bill those not covered under a parent/guardian plan or personal plan for student health insurance. The current student health insurance plan will expire on August 15, 2012.

We encourage you to decide how you are going to provide for accidents or illnesses requiring visits to physicians, health clinics, or the hospital emergency room while you are a student here. As always, our Health Center on campus will be staffed by a certified nurse practitioner Monday – Friday during normal business hours. No insurance is necessary to receive basic health-related services at the Health Center, and the visits cost only $5 at the time of service. However, if you are referred off campus for further lab testing, physician specialists, X-rays, etc., you will be responsible to pay for those services.

In short: We. Will. Not. Comply. And our students are the first one who will feel the pinch.

Those who are left high and dry by the administration’s intrusion into our freedom to practice our faith are our students. Who knows how many will have insurance, how many will not, how many will have insurance of the quality we offered before, how many will be able to stay on their parents’ insurance through the extended adolescence provision of Obamacare, etc.

But there you have it: thanks to the government’s firm desire to make sure the one or two women left in the country who did not have easy and cheap access to contraceptives, abortifacients, and sterilization procedures, our 2,500 students will no longer have an insurance plan ready and waiting for them.


P.S. After initial posting a commenter pointed out that it appeared that our student health insurance plan was self-insured and thus would have been exempt from the HHS mandate. I exchanged emails with a senior administrator with intimate knowledge of the decision making. He assured me that our plan was not, in fact, self-insured—we are simply too small to make that economical. Our students are among the 800,000 who are covered by fully-insured plans we purchase on their behalf.

Further, according to this administrator, the “exception” even for self-insured plans is ambiguous and likely on paper only. In implementation the HHS would likely rule the same as the so-called accommodation, requiring the third-party administrators of self-insured plans to cover the items and procedures “for free,” which of course is a farce.

So the post stands as written.



  • Kevin T. Keith

    What could you possibly mean by “Those who are left high and dry by the administration’s intrusion into our freedom to practice our faith are our students”?

    YOU are the ones who cut them off. Why do you refuse to take responsibility for your own actions?

    Nobody “intruded” into your freedom. They simply told you that if you were going to provide healthcare you had to provide a reasonable range of services. You chose to cut off healthcare coverage entirely in order to continue your denial of other people’s perfectly normal healthcare services and medical needs.

    Your bizarre pretense that other people are responsible for the things you unilaterally choose to do only underscores the mindless reactionism of your policy in the first place.

  • Kevin T. Keith

    You’re absolutely right.

    What Obama should have said was “If you like your healthcare, you can keep it unless your plan administrator chooses to unilaterally cut you off in order to impose their judgmental morality on you by way of your bodily health.”

    Though why, exactly, the fact that this school chose to leave all its students without healthcare coverage is a knock against the plan that made coverage available to millions of others (and will to these students too, now that they’ve been shafted by their supposed plan administrator) is impossible to say. Once more, heartless power-mongers threaten the lives and health of people under their control, and the Obama plan provides a way to a solution.

    Nothing new here, though I’ll bet those students will be glad to enroll under their parents’ plans, as Obamacare made legal for the first time, or under the new exchange plans when they are activated next year. Thank god someone’ slooking out for them.

  • Sgpic

    As we prepare to send our daughter off to college in a year & a half; I’m pleased to say Franciscan is on our list.
    There have been too many other so called catholic universities now marked off our list.

    I understand what Francican has had to do, we will not comply.

  • Pingback: No Surprise Here – Catholic University Drops Student Health Plan | The Lonely Conservative

  • bpeters1

    Honest question: Why is Franciscan dropping coverage for the students now but taking advantage of the 1-year window and continuing to offer faculty (contraceptive-free) insurance? Why cut off one and not the other? Or, equivalently, why continue to support one and not the other?

    • bpeters1

      This is an honest question. It’s sad that honest questions get buried and hidden in “dislikes” and never addressed.

  • Chris

    “It does not waste money on things I will never use because they are morally repugnant to me, like contraceptives, sterilization, and abortifacients.”

    It is your choice wether or not to use the “services” provided within your plan. Many people “waste” money through their current insurance because they are healthy. Why should an employee at your school who does not share your opinion on contraception be barred from having access to contraception? How is she intruding on your beliefs?

    Go to a third world country, see the devastation of overpopulation and rampant STDs, and then come back and tell me that condoms are an evil thing. Or better yet, tell me that condoms may make the problems worse.

    I do not tell you what to do in the bedroom, please give me the same courtesy.

    • Curious

      Chris, Have you ever done missionary work in a third world country. If you haven’t, which I suppose is true because of your comment, you are speaking out of the side of your mouth without any understanding. I have done missionary work in a third world country and there are LOVING FAMILIES that believe in GOD!!! They do NOT believe they are overpopulated. They stand with God and His Authority. God knows of their populations. He knows of the crosses they carry with poverty. They know He knows of their poverty, and they LOVE GOD and the children He sends them. They carry their crosses with much greater humility that many WHINING people in our country. Most CHOOSE to follow God and NOT use condoms even when groups like Planned Parenthood insist that condoms are supplied to their villages. They (people in third world countries) understand their relationship with God is MORE important. And Chris, no one is telling you what to do in your bedroom. We are tellling you to PAY for it. We do NOT want to pay for your bedroom activities. God Bless

      • Chris

        Curious, Yes I have done humanitarian work in third world countries and found it very rewarding to help people of ALL faiths.

        How am I speaking out of the side of my mouth?

        From your above statement you seem to believe that if one uses condoms they do not follow God?

        Finally, am I not asking you to pay for my bedroom activities. I am simply pointing out that it does not seem fair for an employee of Franciscan (who is not Catholic) to be unable to acquire contraception on a plan provided by her employer.

        • Curious

          Chris, Using condoms is blocking God’s Divine Plan of procreation. It is taking God’s Plan into human planning rather than what God has planned for one’s life. Condoms also separates God from the intimant act that God so blessed a husband and wife with, becoming ONE. Condoms become a third party (a party blocking God) in this gift. Employees of Franciscan have chosen to work in a place led by God. If they choose to break His Laws and place themselves above God’s Authority with contreception, they can ALWAYS work elsewhere. I work in an Episcopal work place at this time. I UNDERSTAND differences in faiths. If I were not to follow the “moral code” of the episcopal church, they would not have me working there. Actuall, we get along really well though. God has placed me at this place for a reason, and many of my peers are looking into the TRUE Church, the Catholic Church where they will be able to receive the REAL Body and Blood of our Lord in Eucharist. And Chris, it was you that posted, “I do not tell you what to do in the bedroom, please give me the same courtesy.” I was responding to your post, and my comment still stands, we do NOT want to pay for thimgs that go against God. I have know idea if your life includes that, but those that partake in contraception can PAY FOR IT THEMSELVES because it GOES AGAINST GOD. God Bless



Receive our updates via email.