Only days after the Catholic Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, announced that it was terminating its student health insurance program, Ave Maria University in Ave Maria, Florida, is voicing moral and financial concerns about its own student health program in light of ObamaCare's stringent guidelines. President Obama’s landmark healthcare overhaul has spurred a controversy not just for its contraception mandate, but also for the swelling economic costs accompanying its implementation.
Franciscan University had said it would drop all student health coverage, mainly because of religious issues attached to the controversial contraception mandate; officials added that rising premium costs from stringent new coverage requirements were a secondary consideration. The Florida institution is now coming to similar conclusions.
"We're studying it right now," said Ave Maria University President James Towey. "My own sense is, I don't see ... how it makes sense for us to stay in this."
Towey, a former faith adviser to President George W. Bush, said he finds the contraception mandate “repugnant,” but that economic concerns stemming from anticipated premium hikes are also alarming. “These are unintended consequences of what happens when you hastily pass a 1,000-page bill,” he affirmed.
On Monday, Ave Maria University officials will meet to discuss their options, as the school’s insurance provider said students would likely see a premium hike ranging from 65 to 82 percent in the next year. “At a minimum, we’ve got to communicate to students on why they’re going to see a huge spike in insurance,” Towey observed. However, he added, “we just might get out of this business.”
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Photo: Ave Maria University