Education, News

Health Insurance: What Are My College Student’s Options?

When a child graduates high school and goes off to college, the question of where he or she will obtain health insurance is a common one. No matter what your stance or preference as a parent, it is important to think ahead. Your child now turned into a young adult also should be considering his or her options.

Health Insurance:401(K) 2012

College students and health insurance

When it comes to students obtaining health insurance, a number of questions cross the minds of those involved – students and their parents. The following are common questions that arise and need to be dealt with.

  • Are they covered automatically in some fashion?
  • If not, who is responsible for ensuring they are insured?
  • Does the school have a plan that will cover them?
  • Can they stay on the parents’ plan?
  • Are there other options available?
  • What about other types of insurance besides health? Who is in charge of that?
  • Should the student actually have or doe she or she really need insurance?

The answers to many of these questions depends upon the age of the student, the existence of a parent. Whether the parents have a policy that includes them up to a specific age? However, the easiest one to answer is whether a student really needs some form of insurance.

Why should they get insurance?

College students tend to be young and healthy, but gambling with health is not always a wise move. While the Affordable Care Act now requires all Americans to have health coverage, some still chose to go without, according to The Simple Dollar.

According to the research and statistics, not obtaining at least health insurance while attending college is a bad move. It is risky behavior that can affect the rest of a student’s life. Avoiding paying for health insurance can seem a good idea while you are healthy but, if you suddenly become seriously sick, you can quickly go into debt by paying medical bills. At the same time, you may have to leave college, losing your tuition and the chance to make the money you have just spent back.

The problems may arise from any of the following medical bills – most that afflict the overall American public:

  • Accidents in motor vehicles
  • Chronic illnesses
  • Mental illness or emotional needs

You can end up with a maxed out credit card, a loan that may put you or your parents further into debt, or a credit hole it could take many years to dig out of.

Choices for health care coverage

With the passing of Affordable Care Act, pressure is now on for students to purchase health care. Yet, now there are more options that can help make health care more affordable for students. Among the types of health care options are:

  • Student health plan – Available through the college campuses
  • Parent’s health plan – Students can now remain on their parent’s health plan until they are 26 years old
  • Subsidized coverage
  • Medicaid

If anything is clear, it is the need for students to become or remain insured. While monthly payments may seem a waste of money, more than money will be lost if an accident or illness costs the student or his or her family their savings. Credit has been ruined as a result of a lack of coverage. With so many options, it makes sense that a student do their homework and find a plan that best works for them, balancing cost and coverage. This way, if anything happens, he or she will not only be able to pay off the medical bills, but also be able to remain in school.

Photo Credit: 401(K) 2012 / Flickr

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The Author

Mary Brown

Mary Brown

Mary Brown has enjoyed writing about education and finance related topics, such as scholarships, student loans, college, vocational degree choices, and adult education since the early 2000's. She also writes about school budgets, accreditation and fundraising.