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Ill College Students Can Keep Health Insurance

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A new U.S. law that allows college students to take up to one year off school for medical reasons while remaining on their family's health insurance plan could benefit thousands of seriously ill or injured college students.

No longer will they have to choose between taking time off from their education or keeping their health coverage.

"Michelle's Law," which took effect Friday, is named for Michelle Morse, who decided to keep her full course load at Plymouth (N.H.) State University while undergoing chemotherapy for colon cancer so that she wouldn't be dropped from her parents' health insurance plan. The aspiring teacher died at age 22 in 2005, six months after she graduated, the Associated Press reported.

Her mother AnnMarie Morse lobbied for changes in New Hampshire, which enacted its version of Michelle's Law in 2006. Morse then started pushing for a new national law, which Congress passed last year.

At a news conference Friday, Morse said it was "a very bittersweet day," the AP reported. "I wish I could turn back time and have the family my husband and I were given: one daughter, one son."

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