Health insurance can be an overwhelming topic, especially if this is the first time you’ve had to think about it. Most college students have had their health care provided by their parents until now. But, like anything else, the more you understand about insurance, the less likely it is to seem daunting. We’re here to help!
Let’s begin by defining health insurance. It is, in short, any program designed to help manage the expenses of health care and protect against potential financial ruin resulting from excessive medical bills in the case of a major medical event. Health insurance plans are offered by private companies as well as government agencies and vary greatly in cost and coverage.
Why is student health insurance needed?
You might still wonder, “Why do I need health insurance?” Health insurance is needed because unforeseen medical expenses, even those related to treating a simple cough or sore throat, can cost in the hundreds of dollars. Medical bills for more serious illness or injury can be so high in this country that being unable to pay them could lead you into bankruptcy.
What is important to know about health insurance?
What is important for me to know about health insurance? You don’t have to be an expert on the topic of health insurance. But, there are a few things you should know in order to be a responsible young adult and to be prepared during a medical emergency. You should ask your parents or your insurer these questions if you don’t know the answers:
- When I turn 22, if I am still a full-time student, do I still have coverage under my parent’s health insurance? What about when I turn 25?
- Does my coverage lapse the moment I graduate? Or is there a grace period?
- Am I covered during the summers when I am not attending classes?
- Am I covered if I do foreign exchange/study abroad?
- Am I required to use specific medical doctors/hospitals/clinics to be covered? If so, are there any located near my campus?
- How much is my deductible (the amount I am responsible to pay before my insurance coverage kicks in) and what types of care am I eligible for (medical, dental, vision, etc.?)
You will likely be able to remain covered under a parent’s health insurance plan until graduating and then use COBRA benefits until you have benefits under an employer or individual health insurance. But if you are legally independent or in graduate school, you should definitely know the answers to these questions.
You have more options for student health care than you may think. Check out your alternatives here and find the best plan to have your medical expenses covered when you need it.
As a parent of a college student, you are juggling a lot of details to help your child succeed. In order to help them get the best start in life, it is important to ensure that they have adequate medical coverage. Here are some important questions to ask in order to help them, and you, be best prepared.
There are a few things every young adult should know the answers to with regard to health insurance. Here is a list to get you started so you can be ready if the time comes that a medical event occurs and you need to know.
COBRA refers to federal legislation that allows someone to continue health insurance coverage for up to 36 months that was previously provided by an employer or parent’s employer. COBRA coverage is typically expensive but can be a great short term coverage option until you can find something more affordable.
Your need for health insurance doesn’t end at graduation. There are a few things you should do and check on to keep continuous coverage until you find a more permanent health insurance solution.
International students have the unique challenge of not only trying to navigate a complicated topic like health insurance, but they need special explanations about health care in the U.S. Start your search here by getting help understanding U.S. health care and what you need to know to get health insurance.
Where do you fit in? These statistics compare groups of college students that are insured and uninsured based on age, race, income, and region.