The Senate Finance Committee endorsed health care legislation earlier this month that may impact the future of the university’s health care plan.

The Healthcare Reform Act, approved by the committee on Oct. 13, restricts use of “limited duration products” in an effort to prevent people from buying health care for a short time, using it and discontinuing payments. University insurance – which 40 percent of Georgetown students purchase, according to a letter James Welsh, assistant vice president for student health, wrote to Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) – is described as a “limited duration product” by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

Scott Fleming, Georgetown’s associate vice president of federal relations, said the language of the current health care bill could pose a problem.

“This wording, if not fixed, might limit the university’s ability to offer health insurance policies,” Fleming said.

Welsh wrote his letter to Dodd to inform him of the wording problem.

“Clearly, if the pending legislation were to preclude us from continuing this important health insurance coverage, a tremendous problem would be created on our campus,” Welsh said in the letter. “Given the goals of the legislation that is being pursued, I also think that it would not be the intent of those who are working so diligently on this effort to reflect that as an outcome of your work.”

As the health care debate continues, Fleming said the Office of Federal Relations will be keeping a close watch on policymaking that may affect the university’s health care plan.

“We don’t believe [the bill’s effect on university health care] was intentional,” Fleming said. “We just want to make sure it’s not a problem.”

University policy has required that students have health care plans for the last 20 years. Many graduate students use the university plan, and nearly 25 percent of undergraduates depend on university coverage, according to Welsh’s letter.”

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