A Catholic university in eastern Ohio is ending health-insurance coverage for students in response to a much-debated federal mandate.
Ohio Dominican and Mount Carmel College of Nursing, Catholic schools in central Ohio, already don’t provide health insurance for students, spokeswomen at the colleges said on Wednesday.
Catholic-affiliated institutions across the country are challenging a mandate in the federal health-care law that requires insurance plans to provide coverage for contraception — including birth-control pills, sterilization and the so-called morning-after pill, which many conservatives view as an abortion-inducing drug.
Franciscan University in Steubenville announced last month that, because of the new rule, it no longer will offer a student health-insurance plan, beginning in the fall. The skyrocketing cost of the plan, also because of mandates, was another factor, spokesman Tom Sofio said yesterday. About 200 of the school’s 2,500 students are enrolled in the voluntary plan.
Whether church institutions will stop providing health-insurance coverage in opposition to the mandate has become a common topic in Catholic circles, said John C. Green, the director of the University of Akron’s Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics.
“This is the first example I have heard of,” he said, referring to Franciscan University. “It’s possible this could become very widespread if the current mandate stands.”