Each year, college students face a critical test that they probably do not hear about in any classroom, having the right health insurance to cover the costs of ailments and emergencies that may arise while they are in school. Poor health may be the last thing on the minds of young, vibrant college students. However, it pays to think about illness before it happens. Thanks to health care reform, students under the age of 26 can remain on their parents’ health insurance. College life can add a few wrinkles to this Obamacare provision, however.
For example: If a student is going to school in a different state, it is important to contact the insurance company to make sure there will be in-network providers near campus. Large insurers often do have affiliated networks in other states, but parents need to check with their particular plan, says a deputy director of health policy for the health care consumer group Families USA.
Students might also want to schedule routine preventive care visits while they are at home on vacation in order to have access to the network of their parents’ plan. In addition, parents and students should find out how the insurer will reimburse emergency care claims in the college town.
The possible absence of in-network coverage can create extra expenses for students and force them into making difficult choices. If something comes up and they have to leave to get care for a longer-term illness, that will essentially take them out of school. Many colleges offer their own health plans to students. A college may work with an insurance company, which pays any claims. Alternatively, plans may be self-insured by the school, which makes the pay-outs directly.
College health plans have a major advantage over other health insurance options because the premium costs are grouped with other higher education expenses, such as tuition and room and board. So, your student loans can assist with that.
These plans often appeal to older students no longer eligible to remain on their parents’ health insurance. These plans will also cover services that are often needed by young women for their reproductive health. However, school plans may not always be the best option for students.
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