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'Michelle's Law' helps students maintain health insurance

Posted On Thu, October 15, 2009

A new federal law will help younger people deal with the prospect of losing their health insurance.

"Michelle's Law" was signed by President George W. Bush in October of 2008 and took effect in recently. The law, which was named after a New Hampshire college student, extends coverage to students who may have to leave college because of medical reasons.

The seed of the law germinated based on the efforts of AnnMarie Morse, whose 20-year-old daughter died in November of 2005 after a battle with advanced colon cancer. Michelle Morse maintained her full course load at New Hampshire's Plymouth State University in order to maintain her coverage under her parent's health insurance policy.

AnnMarie Morse said when the law was signed that it was a bittersweet moment and that her daughter wanted her to fight on behalf of the law.

"She did not want any other college student to face the choice she had to make which was: stay in school and maintain her insurance, or take a leave of absence and lose it," AnnMarie Morse said last year.

A state-level version of the law was signed by New Hampshire Governor John Lynch in June of 2006. At that time, Lynch praised the courage of Michelle Morse and her family, and noted the student's legacy lives on through the difference she made and the legislation she inspired.

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