About Affordable Health Insurance for Students
Along with the other challenges faced by college students, one of the most significant is getting adequate health insurance coverage. Since most students do not yet have full-time jobs, they won’t have coverage available to them through an employer.
In addition, because of age restrictions in many family health insurance plans, the student may not be covered by their parents’ insurance, even if they are still classified as a ‘dependent’ for tax purposes. Adding to the confusion is the fact that different insurance providers have different age cut-offs for student coverage – some are 19, others are 21, and still others use age 23.
Furthermore, even when the student is covered by their parent’s policy, if they attend a school in a state different from where their parents live, the parent’s health plan might consider the doctors in that state to be ‘out of network’ or outside of the plan’s service area, which could greatly increase the parent’s out-of-pocket costs. In the face of this potential gap in coverage, there are two common ways to get affordable health insurance for students.
First, the student can get their own individual plan, like any other individual. Often times, however, this isn’t the most cost-effective solution for getting appropriate coverage. Standard individual health insurance policies are generally not fairly priced for younger adults who are only likely to keep coverage for the relatively short period of time between when they go off of their parents’ coverage and when they get their own traditional coverage. (Insurance agents will tell you that the longer a person stays enrolled in a particular health insurance plan, the more health care they will need – since standard individual policies assume that the person will be covered for a longer time, the policies aren’t as inexpensive as they should be for students.)
Fortunately, the second and generally more affordable way to get inexpensive health insurance coverage for a student is through a school-sponsored healthcare plan. School-sponsored plans are similar to employer sponsored plans in that they offer similar coverage options to a group of people – in this case, the students who attend that university or college.
These types of affordable health insurance for students are generally much easier on the student budget to comparable individual plans that are available to the general public. Often times, as a trade-off, they provide favored status for medical services be provided at the campus health center or hospital.
Another option for affordable health insurance for students are many school-sponsored plans that also make ‘continuation plans’ available to their students. Continuation plans add a short period of time in which the student will continue to be covered by their school-sponsored plan, even after they after they graduate and their school-sponsored covered expires. There are often several options for how long this continuation period lasts, generally up to nine or twelve months. These can be a great way to make sure that the student is protected against unforeseen medical expenses, and to protect them if there is any period of time before they get a job and are covered by an employer health plan.
In addition, some school-sponsored plans have add-on policies for dental coverage and travel coverage. The travel coverage can be a great benefit if the student is planning to study abroad, or to travel overseas during breaks from school.
Who Has the Most Affordable Health Insurance for Students?
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