Last updated on August 12th, 2013
When you or your child is a college student one of the biggest concerns is how they will be insured in the event that they get sick or have an accident. Some colleges and universities have student health insurance arrangements with insurance companies to provide medical plans in line with the needs of students. But that is not the only way to be covered by student health insurance.
Why Have Student Health Insurance?
It is very easy to get caught up in the thinking that a young college student can get by without health insurance. The chance of loss is small compared to other age groups, and even in the event of an illness, there are free clinics on campus. Even if the student sees a doctor off campus, the cost of paying for a visit is cheaper than insurance premiums, so why not go without the insurance?
But what if something more serious happens? What about a car accident? What about a rush to the emergency room for an illness? Due to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), or Obamacare as it is more commonly known, an individual can get covered even with a pre-existing condition, but in the event of a sudden accident or illness, thousands of dollars in claims could be incurred before an insurance plan is in place. That is a big risk to take.
By getting health insurance for a student, those risks can be mitigated.
And don’t forget that there are taxes assessed to every American that does not have health insurance.
How to Get Student Health Insurance
Health insurance for students can be gained in several ways. Perhaps the easiest is to continue on a group plan through a parent’s employer. PPACA requires insurance plans to allow children to remain on their parent’s plan through age 26. If this is an option, it will generally be cheaper to join this plan than get the student their own health insurance plan. This is especially true if they parent is already on a family plan. It will not cost any extra to add the college student.
Many health insurance companies also have student health insurance options available that tailor plans to the needs of college students. This can be an easier way to find a plan than going into the individual market.
That doesn’t mean you should stay away from the individual market. By going to various insurance companies yourself, or using a broker, you can find plans with premiums that fit your needs and budget. It can take some time doing it yourself, but there is a good chance you can find a plan that is close to what you are looking for.
Lastly, there is the health insurance exchange. These were established by PPACA as online marketplaces where individuals can go and compare medical plans on an apples-to-apples basis. The marketplaces also help someone determine if they are eligible for federal subsidies to help offset the cost of insurance.
While the insurance quotes a student receives might be high, there are ways to reduce that cost through the government and plan design. Student health insurance is a great way to avoid costly medical bills and have more peace of mind about the college experience.