Health Insurance For College Students
Did You Know?
Having health insurance can mean the difference between starting your adult life in good financial standing or bankruptcy.
An uninsured stay in the hospital or visit to the emergency room can cost thousands—or even tens of thousands—of dollars.
People aged 19 to 29 are more likely to be uninsured than most other age groups.
Common Terms You Should Know
- Premium: The amount you pay each month for your health insurance.
- Copayment: Also called a copay, the amount you pay upfront for each doctor visit or prescription.
- Deductible: The amount you pay out-of-pocket each year before the insurance company begins paying for claims. A higher deductible typically means lower monthly premiums.
- Coinsurance: A percentage you must pay for services after your copay and deductible are satisfied.
- Out-of-pocket maximum: The maximum amount you’ll have to pay each year, including copayments, deductibles, and coinsurance.
Types of Plans Available for College Students
Many college students assume that school-sponsored plans are the only option available to them. However, you actually have a variety of plan options:
Parents’ health insurance plan:
Individuals up to age 26 who are not eligible for group coverage are entitled to coverage on their parents’ plan. This can be a convenient option because all billing and claims are handled by your parents. However, if you attend school in a different state, your coverage levels may drop, and it may be more expensive than other coverage options.
School-sponsored health insurance plan:
Many schools offer insurance plans for full-time students. They tend to be relatively affordable and convenient as medical services are often available on campus. However, then the plan may not cover services you receive off-campus and may have limits in the coverage. This plan will also drop your coverage if you graduate or drop below full-time student status.
Student health insurance plan:
Full-time students ages 17-29 at a state-accredited college are eligible. One major advantage is that coverage travels with you if you go to school in a different state. However, it may be more expensive than individual health coverage or may not be available in your state.
Everyone is eligible to apply for this type of plan. Most states offer several affordable options with a range of benefits, and the biggest advantage is that you can keep this coverage after you graduate or drop credit hours. One downfall is that medical claims may not be paid at the highest level when at home if your family lives in another state.
How to Make the Best Decision for You
In order to choose the plan that’s best suited to you and your situation, consider the following criteria:
- Health benefits: Make sure you know the benefits of each plan you’re considering. Buy only what’s important to you. For example, don’t pay for maternity benefits if you don’t need them. However, don’t skimp on the benefits that you truly need.
- Costs: Consider which plans to match your budget in terms of premium, deductible, copayments, and coinsurance.
- Physician network: If you have a preferred doctor, make sure to check which plans include him or her in the physician network.
- Brand: Are there any brand-name carriers that you prefer or would like to avoid?
- Consult NEWS Insurance Services: We make sure that you’re informed about all of your coverage options so you can make the best choice for your health and budget