HomeCan You Get Health Insurance Through College

Can You Get Health Insurance Through College

What Else Should I Consider When Choosing A Plan

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As you weigh your options, carefully consider your circumstances. Ask yourself the following questions, which apply to any individual in the process of choosing health insurance:

  • Am I generally healthy or do I have a chronic illness or other condition that requires medical monitoring?
  • What are the deductibles for each type of service?
  • What coinsurance is offered after I meet my deductible?
  • What copays can I expect for office visits or emergency room services?
  • Do I want prescription coverage?
  • Are there tweaks to my policy that can increase or decrease my deductibles?
  • What is the maximum out-of-pocket expense where my plan begins to cover everything?
  • How restricted is my provider network?
  • Can I use on-campus health services for most medical needs or do I need to find a provider off campus?

For Us Citizens And Permanent Legal Residents:

In March 2010, the Affordable Care Act , commonly known as Obamacare, was signed into U.S. law with the intent of helping more people get quality, affordable health care coverage. Public and private insurance options expanded, and their standards went up.

Shortly after the federal government passed the ACA, it began requiring U.S. citizens, permanent legal residents, and holders of immigrant visas to take advantage of their new health care options. Called the individual mandate, it requires every citizen and legal resident to have basic health insurance coverage, also called minimum essential coverage . Failure to meet this standard resulted in tax penalties, even for students.

In December 2017, however, President Trump signed off on a tax reform bill that addressed, among other things, the individual mandate. Beginning in 2019, the individual mandate no longer exists at the federal level, meaning that individuals may choose whether they want to purchase health insurance coverage. Keep in mind that some states, including Massachusetts, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia, have their own individual mandates if you live in one of these locations and decide to go without insurance, you may owe a fee to the state when it comes time to file your taxes.

Health Insurance Through The Marketplace

As a student, you are probably working hard at your studies and not at a full-time job. If your income is low, you can likely qualify for government assistance to help cover the cost of a health insurance plan through the Marketplace. When you shop for a plan through the Marketplace, you can get tax credits that help lower the cost of your annual premium. This can help make the cost of a plan more within your reach.

To learn more about the plans offered through Humana and find out if you qualify for financial assistance, visit our page.

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Other Health Insurance Options For Students

Before buying an individual major medical or short-term insurance policy, carefully consider every option to find a plan that fits your budget, lifestyle and health care needs. Cheap health insurance for college students comes in many forms, and alternatives to major medical or short-term coverage are often cheaper and better options.

School-sponsored student health plansIf your school offers a student health plan, it can be an easy and affordable way to get basic insurance coverage. Student health plans are usually part of your tuition or fees, so you can pay the monthly bills through your student loans. To qualify, you must be a full-time student and use campus health providers.

If you’re enrolled in a student health plan, in most cases, it meets coverage standards set by the ACA. This means the plan would cover preexisting conditions and provide the minimum benefits required by the ACA, including:

  • Ambulatory patient services
  • Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
  • Pediatric services, including oral and vision care

Parents’ insurance coverageYou can remain on your parents’ health insurance plan until age 26. Before you commit to using your parents’ plan, check to be sure it covers the area where you’re attending school. If not, or if you have aged out of your parents’ plan, you’ll want to look at your options. Health insurance for college students over 26 might include Medicaid, an individual ACA plan or short-term medical insurance.

  • California

Can We Buy A Campus Health Plan In Addition To Our Family Health Insurance Plan


If your student is covered by a college plan as well as another health plan, the campus plan will typically pay first for any care needed by the student, with the other plan paying as secondary coverage, said Ms. Marks of Academic HealthPlans.

Families with high-deductible plans that are paired with tax-favored health savings accounts usually need to be cautious about layering on other health coverage. Thats because families generally cant have other health insurance if they want to reap the tax benefits of an H.S.A., including tax-free contributions and withdrawals that are also tax-free when spent on eligible medical care.

But since the campus plan would cover only the student, it wouldnt disqualify her parents from contributing to an H.S.A., said William G. Stuart, president of the Massachusetts chapter of the National Association of Health Underwriters. If you are uncertain, it may be wise to consult a tax professional familiar with H.S.A.s.

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Student Coverage Basics: Where Do I Start

When it comes to insurance, understanding its language and how it works goes a long way. At least half a dozen variables go into differentiating one policy from another, and each one carries its own financial implications.

A monthly premium is only the beginning of your out-of-pocket cost. If you cannot afford to pay the premium and the additional fees, you cannot afford the policy. Should you need medical treatment, understanding your obligations ahead of time can help you avoid a nasty surprise.

The Importance Of Being Insured

In general, young adults ages 18 to 34 tend to have the highest rates of being uninsured. As previously mentioned, those who go uninsured have a higher chance of dealing with more severe illnesses due to the lack of healthcare that is sought out and received. Being that unexpected sickness is one of the leading factors for causing family debt, student health insurance should be seen as an essential investment.

Obtaining college student health insurance can be compared to purchasing a type of warranty. Although in the beginning it may seem like just another monthly bill, what you are paying for is a long term safeguard and future relief and satisfaction for any medical incidents that may occur. With student health insurance, the financial stress that may come with a doctor’s visit can be made easy. For example, those who are uninsured often times have more difficulty when it comes to negotiating prescription prices because they do not have the support of a larger firm behind them. With the costs of prescription drugs on the rise, it is becoming more and more common that the uninsured choose to skip their medications in order to save money.

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Make Sure You Have Health Insurance

First things first: students need health insurance coverage. There are a few options to find a plan:

  • Stay on a Parents Plan: Students under 26 have the option to stay on their parents health insurance plan. If selecting this option, its a good idea to contact your Blue Cross Blue Shield company to get details about out-of-state coverage if you need it.
  • Student Plans: Many schools also offer student coverage, which can be a good option for basic care. Contact your school for details.
  • Health Insurance Marketplace: Another option is to purchase health insurance on the , which may allow you to qualify to receive financial help from the government to pay for your plan. You can also find out if you qualify for Medicaid.

The Rules For Getting A Waiver Vary By School

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Some schools set minimal coverage standards, while others operate health centers on campus that wont take any other insurance.

The Claremont Colleges in Southern California require all students to carry health insurance, and automatically enrolls them in an Aetna Student Health Insurance Plan that costs $2,095 for the 2017-18 school year. Almost 60 percent opt out through waivers, which doesnt stop the school from automatically enrolling them again each year and requiring that they repeat the opting-out process.

To be fair, health insurance coverage changes each year.

At Vanderbilt University, where student health premiums this year were $1,949, waivers are only granted when a students existing plan has no caps on maximum benefits per illness, per injury, per coverage period or per lifetime. The existing plan also needs to have nothing higher than a $250 annual in-network deductible, plus in-network providers in Nashville, Tennessee, where the school is located.

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Why Do I Need Health Insurance

The cost of medical care in the United States is exorbitantly expensive. A simple visit to the emergency room can cost thousands of dollars. And if the student is admitted to a hospital for treatment, the medical bill can easily exceed the cost of a full year of tuition, room and board from a private university. Health insurance can reduce or eliminate these expenses.

What To Choose And Why

Good health is one of those things we all take for granted it’s only when we get sick that we remember just how important being healthy really is. When a person’s health takes a turn for the worse, it can not only be worrisome, but also quite expensive. That’s why health insurance is so important. The insurance provides a safety net that prevents financial ruin when a person must receive high-dollar medical treatment. But it also provides for preventative care, which is one of the most important aspects of staying healthy through life.

Having health insurance is important, but getting it isn’t always easy. Though the Affordable Care Act paved the way for millions to get more affordable health coverage, today’s political climate means potential big changes to this valuable program and others that provide coverage for those in the U.S. This guide will provide an overview of the health insurance market in the United States, specifically for students, those who support students, or recent graduates who are curious about what it takes to get healthcare coverage.

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Student Health Insurance From The Expert

Hector De La Torre is the Executive Director of the Transamerica Center for Health Studies, a nonprofit focused on helping consumers and businesses navigate the health care landscape. De La Torre was chosen to lead this new initiative because of his private and public sector experience, particularly his leadership role on health care and advocating for consumers and businesses. Among his accomplishments as an elected official were expanding access to doctors in underserved communities, consumer protections against retroactive cancellation of health insurance, and supporting facilities improvements at Children’s Hospitals.

When You Graduate: Before Your First Job

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The true insurance nightmare often doesnt begin for students until after they graduate. If you land a job with benefits immediately after graduation, youre lucky. In 2007, only 51% of graduates landed jobs directly after graduation, and not all of those came with health insurance. Its not unusual for students to go months or even a year or two without coverage before landing that first joband once they do, theres no guarantee that health insurance will be included.

Health insurance is expensive, but its not completely out of reach for many graduates. If youre between graduation and that first job with benefits, here are a few options for coverage.


Federal law requires that health insurance providers allow continuing coverage for up to 36 months for those who ordinarily would be dropped from their plans. This includes terminated employees, spouses and former spouses, retirees, and adult children. Under COBRA, the health insurance carrier continues to offer the same price to the individual that it offered to the employer. The problem with it is that despite the discount, COBRA is expensiveusually because the employer paid part of the fee.

Short-term coverage

Your colleges plan

High-deductible health insurance

Health savings accounts

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Affordable Care Act/healthcare Marketplace

How to Qualify: Almost anyone will qualify for coverage through the Marketplace.

How to Sign Up: Sign up usually takes place during an open enrollment period. If a student misses this opportunity, they can sign up during a special enrollment period. This requires a qualifying event, such as losing prior health insurance coverage.

How it Works: Applicants obtain coverage by shopping at their Health Insurance Marketplace , whether run by the state or federal government. If they qualify, students may be able to receive federal subsidies to help pay their monthly premiums. Eligibility for these subsidies, as well as the subsidy amount, will depend on income level and family size.

Why It’s Good: Many plans available through the Marketplace will be the same as one purchased directly from the health insurance company purchasing through the Marketplace allows the opportunity for subsidies. Every plan offered through the Marketplace will provide minimum essential coverage.

How to Make it Affordable: Most Marketplaces will have several tiers of insurance coverage, such as Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. The Bronze plans are cheaper in that they have lowest monthly premiums, but usually higher deductible and out of pocket maximums.

What to Know: Getting a subsidy by purchasing a plan through a Health Insurance Marketplace may require additional paperwork to prove the student’s financial situation. And if that financial situation changes, their subsidy could change along with it.

How We Chose The Best Health Insurance For College Students

To identify the best health insurance for college students, we looked at multiple options, including Medicaid, Health Insurance Marketplace plans, school-offered insurance, short-term policies, and insurance offered by private companies. In total, we looked at 17 different options and evaluated them based on their total annual cost, availability, provider network, and financial stability rating. Because college students are typically on a tight budget, particular attention was paid to plans that offered low premiums and comprehensive coverage.

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The Affordable Care Act

Passed in 2010, the Affordable Care Act is a law designed to provide affordable health insurance to all Americans. Consumers receive tax credits based on their income, then apply these credits to help offset the costs of insurance. Individuals and families who earn too much to qualify for tax credits can still search for different insurance options through the ACA website.

The ACA sought to improve the quality of insurance by requiring insurance companies to meet a certain set of standards, including provisions for free birth control and coverage for preexisting conditions. The ACA also allowed young people to stay on their parents’ insurance until they turn 26.

Experts say the quality of student health insurance improved drastically under the ACA. However, the ACA also included an “individual mandate” that required all taxpayers to have insurance. Students received a tax penalty if they did not enroll in a health insurance plan.

The individual mandate was repealed, but colleges still require their students to have health insurance and automatically enroll learners in a health insurance plan. Students at most schools can opt out if they have insurance through their workplace or parents.

Health Insurance Options For College Students

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  • Coverage under your parent’s insurance plan: You may be able to stay on your parent’s health plan until you turn 26.
  • Student health plans: If your school offers a student health plan, it can be an easy and affordable way to get basic insurance coverage.
  • : Starting on November 1, 2016, you can enroll in a Marketplace health insurance plan that covers

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Young Adults Can Stay On The Family Health Policy Until Age 26 But If They Go Away To College And Are Outside The Insurer’s Network Of Doctors Families Need To Reconsider Their Insurance Options

Question: My son is about to graduate from high school and will be living at home until he moves away in late summer for college. Can he just stay on my health insurance policy when he’s in college?

Answer: Health insurers that provide dependent coverage must continue to cover adult children until they turn age 26. But you should find out whether your son will have access to in-network providers after he goes to college.

If your plan’s network extends to the city where he’s moving, then staying on your plan is usually his best bet. But if his new city doesn’t have in-network providers, he may have much higher out-of-pocket costs or very limited coverage, depending on your type of plan. Some preferred-provider organization plans provide coverage for out-of-network providers. But they usually charge higher co-payments, require bigger deductibles and set a higher out-of-pocket spending limit for out-of-network providers . And most health maintenance organization plans typically don’t provide any coverage for out-of-network providers, except in emergencies.

He could also check out buying an individual health insurance policy through your state’s health insurance exchange. If he’s still your dependent, he won’t qualify for a government subsidy to help with the premiums based on his own income. But it’s still worthwhile to compare the costs and coverage with his other options.

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