6 Health Insurance Options For College Students

Health Bear

When we start our college experience, most of us are young and don’t have much money, so it can be tempting to skip health insurance altogether. If you’re tempted, resist. Good insurance is a crucial safety net at any age.

Earning a degree is hard work, and college is an active time. It’s not uncommon for students to need medical care, whether because of a sports injury or because your immune system is struggling after all those late-night study sessions. The good news is there are insurance options available.

Stick with Mom and Dad

Health care reform now ensures that students can stay on their parents’ health care plans until age 26. While in general this is a good option, there are some issues to watch out for. For one thing, your parents’ plan may not cover the things you need, so be sure to get the details before you make a decision.

It may also be more difficult to find an in-network health care provider if you’ve moved to a different state for school. If this is an issue, you might consider earning your degree online, and an online learning self-assessment can help you make the best decision.

Go with your school’s insurance plan

Many universities offer their health care plans to students at discounted rates. Schools can usually get bulk rates from insurance companies because of the number of students, staff, and faculty that sign up, but those savings don’t always get passed on.

The good news is that if you get your health care through your school, you can group this expensive with your other university expenses so it’s covered by your student loan. However, be aware that student plans often offer limited coverage and strict limits on claims and the number of doctor visits you can make.

Consider a short-term plan

If you’re on a school plan and need coverage over the summer, or if you’re leaving your parents’ plan and haven’t yet found the right long-term coverage for yourself, consider short term health insurance for college students.

These plans usually go into effect quickly, have broad network coverage (or no network limitations at all), and will cover you no matter where you go for work, study, or summer holidays. They won’t cover preexisting conditions, but they are inexpensive and offer a lot of flexibility for people on the move.

Consider Medicaid

If you’re from a low-income family, you might be able to get insurance through Medicaid. Your eligibility will depend on your parents’ income, but if you’re eligible, this can be a great way to get coverage without spending too much.

The other question is whether your state has expanded Medicare to allow this option. Every state is different, so be sure to check it out. In some cases, it might be worth transferring your residency to the state where you plan to go to school if that will make you eligible for Medicaid.

Get catastrophic insurance

If you’re under age 30, health care law lets you buy catastrophic policies without a tax penalty. A catastrophic policy comes with high deductibles and very low premiums. They aren’t meant to cover regular, routine health care.

What they do cover is a catastrophe: a car accident, a devastating illness, or any other unexpected event with huge medical bills. Choosing only a catastrophic insurance policy is a gamble, but for some, it might be the most affordable choice.

 Go on the exchange

Another option is to go onto your state’s health insurance exchange. Exchange policies are typically far cheaper than long-term private policies, and there are ways to make them even cheaper.

If you are within 400% of the poverty line, and if you’re not able to get insurance through an employer, you might be eligible for special tax credits to lower your premiums. Just be careful: often the cheapest policies on the exchange don’t offer the best quality.

Content Provided By Scholarship Media

UTA Radio on Facebook

Twitter Feed

UTA News