Is Health Insurance for College Students Available Through the Exchanges?

Health insurance for college students can be a tricky thing.  For one, health insurance plans have limits on how long a dependent child can be on their parent’s medical plan.  Second, it can be hard to find a health insurance plan that is affordable for students while they are not making much money.

Both of these issues are addressed by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), or Obamacare as many people know it.  While the law is a political hot button, college age students can benefit greatly from the legislation.

How Does Obamacare Help College Students?

Health insurance for college students is addressed in couple of ways by the Affordable Care Act.  First, the law allows dependent children to remain on their parent’s plan until the child reaches age 26.  For many people, this gets them through the college years with access to health insurance.

Second, the law provides two avenues to help pay for medical expenses  – expanded Medicaid and the health insurance exchanges, or marketplaces.  Medicaid has been expanded to include adults that make less than 133% of the poverty level.  Medicaid is administered by the states, and not all states are going to expand Medicaid, so make sure to check with your state’s eligibility.

The health insurance marketplace, then, is a great option of health insurance for college students.

Why is the Exchange Good for College Students?

If a student in college needs to purchase insurance on their own, there is a good chance that they will be making this sort of purchase for the first time.  The exchanges are online locations where available plans are laid out side-by-side to make it easy to compare the health insurance options, both by plan design and premium.  This will make the purchase easy to wade through and understand.  If the student needs assistance, they can contact customer service representatives, called navigators, to help them through the process.

But perhaps the best thing for college students is that PPACA allows for tax credits for purchases through the marketplace if the individual makes less than 400% of the poverty level.  The calculation for this credit is done online.  Since many people in school make less than this threshold, health insurance for college students is much more affordable than before the Affordable Care Act.

Like Medicaid, the exchanges are administered through the states.  Some states do not have their own exchange.  In that case, residents will go through the federal marketplace.  You can find your state’s marketplace here.

Filing Tax Returns

One thing to be aware of if a college student purchases a medical plan through the exchange is that he or she will have to file a tax return, even if there would otherwise be no reason to file.  So while health insurance for college students is available for a low cost on the exchange, make sure to actually get the credit you were promised.

The Affordable Care Act is a controversial piece of legislation.  The effects, both good and bad, will be felt for years.  But one thing for sure is that the availability and affordability of health insurance for college students was helped by PPACA.

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Health Insurance Marketplaces for Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington

Most of the Pacific coasts states will run their own state health insurance marketplace.  Residents of those states can go to the following sites to enroll in the exchange.

Information is accurate as of March 21, 2016.  Will be updated as needed.

Alaska – Will enroll in Federal Exchange

CaliforniaCovered California

HawaiiHawaii Health Connector

Oregon – Will enroll in Federal Exchange

WashingtonWashington Healthplanfinder

Can’t find your state?  Click on your region of the United States:

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Health Insurance Marketplaces for Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming

As you might expect, the Mountain states have a mix of state exchanges and states defaulting to the federal exchange.  The links below are where residents should go to enroll in the health insurance marketplace.

Information is accurate as of August 13, 2013.  Will update as needed.

Arizona – Will enroll in Federal Exchange

ColoradoConnect for Health Colorado

IdahoYour Health Idaho.

Montana – Will enroll in Federal Exchange

NevadaNevada Health Link

New MexicoNew Mexico Health Insurance Exchange

Utah – Will enroll in Federal Exchange

Wyoming – Will enroll in Federal Exchange

Do not see your state here?  Check out other regions of the country:

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Health Insurance Marketplaces for Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota

Of all these states in the Central Plains, only one will be using a full state exchange.  The rest will be utilizing the federal marketplace for enrollment.  The links below are where residents of these states will go to enroll in the exchange.

Information is accurate as of August 13, 2013.  Will update as needed.

Iowa – Will enroll in Federal Exchange

Kansas – Will enroll in Federal Exchange

MinnesotaMNsure

Missouri – Will enroll in Federal Exchange

Nebraska – Will enroll in Federal Exchange

North Dakota – Will enroll in Federal Exchange

South Dakota – Will enroll in Federal Exchange

Is your state not on the list?  Click the region where you live:

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Health Insurance Marketplaces for Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas

These 4 southern states will all default to the federal exchange.  The links below will take residents of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas to where they need to go to enroll in the exchange.

Information is accurate as of August 13, 2013.  Will update as needed.

Arkansas – Will enroll in Federal Exchange

Louisiana – Will enroll in Federal Exchange

Oklahoma – Will enroll in Federal Exchange

Texas – Will enroll in Federal Exchange

Do you not see your state?  Check out other regions of the United States:

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