Student Health Insurance

by Steve

Options for Health Coverage at College

Whether you are just heading off to college or are there already, you should know that going without student health insurance coverage is not really an option.  If something should happen, such as an illness or an injury, what will you do?  It’s always better to be prepared and plan ahead than have to react on the spur of the moment.  After all, large medical bills could cause havoc on your carefully laid out plans for college and after.  Don’t get caught unaware; know your options for health coverage.

To begin, know that if you are currently on your parent’s health insurance that is a great place to be.  If it is possible, stay on their insurance as long as you can.  Recent legislation has made it possible for students to stay on parent’s or guardian’s health insurance up to the age of 26 unless you are also eligible for employer health coverage.

Depending on whether your parent’s coverage is a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) or Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), there may be limitations on the coverage for you.  For one, full coverage might only be available within a certain radius or through certain providers.  In order to get the lowest copayments and coinsurance, you might need to receive treatment in your home town.  Be sure to ask questions about what your coverage is and any limitations or special circumstances that could affect you at school.  Usually, though, medical emergencies are required to be covered from any provider in any facility (think “emergency room”).

COBRA may be an option for your student health insurance if you recently left a job that had provided health insurance.  COBRA allows you to stay on the same plan for 18 months, but you have to pay the full premiums.

If you happen to be over 26 and are still in college, then you may lose the health insurance that your parent’s were providing you with.  In some cases, you may be eligible for COBRA continuation coverage although the time period could vary.  Check with your parent’s insurance agent or with the benefits manager where they work to see if you are eligible.

Another great option is to get student health insurance from the college itself.  There are many that offer low-cost health plans and it’s worth asking in the admissions office to see if your school does, and if so, what kinds of coverage they offer.

There is a good possibility that they offer several types of student health insurance policies that could range from simple accident policies to larger ones that cover major medical needs.  If they have it, the best choice would be a comprehensive medical policy that covers visits to a student health clinic, specialists, diagnostic testing and medically necessary procedures.

If all else fails, you will probably need to buy an individual health insurance policy, see if you qualify for coverage through Medicaid or find a community health center that provide care to those without health insurance and have sliding fee scales based on income.  There are plenty of options for you to get some kind of student health insurance, so explore all the options to find the best one for you and your needs.

Yuma Insurance Health – Steve Meinhardt – Agent

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