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A federal law enacted last year, which takes effect this coming fall, imposes new requirements on insurers underwriting health insurance for families. “Michelle’s Law” is named for Michelle Morse, a 20-year-old student at Portsmouth State University in New Hampshire who was diagnosed in 2003 with advanced colon cancer. Michelle was covered under her mother’s health insurance, and sought advanced cancer treatment at hospitals in Boston. However, her health insurance coverage was dependent upon her continuing as a full-time student, which would not have been possible with the schedule of treatments she was undergoing. Had she stopped being a full-time student, her family could only have continued health insurance coverage under COBRA at approximately $550 per month, which was not an affordable option. Michelle was thus forced to maintain the course workload of a full-time student while she was undergoing treatment.

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