Top 5 Health Insurance Plans for College StudentsBy Staff Reporter, UniversityHerald Reporter
Health is a mysterious abstract thing that we don't think about regularly. Instead, we focus on it only when certain problems arise. For young students, it's typical not to care about their health because it seems that it will be perfect forever. Nonetheless, various diseases are always around the corner, and it's impossible to predict them. From toothache to coronavirus, potential issues are nearly infinite.
In this case, a health insurance plan isn't a luxury, it's a necessity. Insurance software trends show that businesses tend to invest more and more in digital solutions. The whole industry is on the rise. Considering the cost of medical care in the USA, health policies can save tons of money. Hence, we want to talk about insurance options available for students and ways to pick the best one for you.
Health Insurance Coverage - Compare & Choose
With the introduction of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) known as Obamacare, American citizens got more ways to protect their health. The statute is one of the most discussing regulative documents in the modern history of the USA. It has both supporters and opponents. One fact is true - it adds more health coverage options for students. Let's look at them to reveal which one is the most suitable!
1. Parent Plan
For youngsters, staying on their parents' insurance plans is a viable and highly affordable option. Typically, parents keep kids on these plans until they turn 18. But it's do possible to prolong this insurance if the existing policies allow insuring dependents. Of course, if the main owner loses his/her insurance, children will lose it, too.
- How does the plan work?Students that are on such plans can remain on them up to reaching the age of 26. Other personal circumstances don't matter.
- How to get it?If a student wants to join the parents' plan, it's possible to do during regular or special enrollment periods.
- Who is eligible?Actually, all citizens younger than 26. Other eligibility criteria are important for parents, not students.
- Are there any pitfalls?Yes. For example, if a student studies in another state without an affiliate insurance brand there, the policy would be inefficient.
2. Personal Plan from College
If a student doesn't want to be included in the family plan or he/she isn't eligible, the best option is to get college insurance. A lot of schools have either affiliate offers from insurance teams or in-house packages. They guarantee privacy as all bills and benefits are sent to students directly. However, they also feature some limits.
- How does the plan work?Students should pay premiums together with other college-related expenses. Thus, student loans can cover these expenses.
- How to get it?Often, insurance is provided automatically to all enrolled students. Otherwise, you should contact your school's health center.
- Who is eligible?Exact criteria depend on the college. Some institutions evaluate the students' study credits when making a decision.
- Are there any pitfalls?Usually, these plans work only during the school year, not during breaks. Also, they may feature higher limits and lower overall coverage.
3. Plan from the Marketplace
Thanks to the ACA, citizens now can purchase policies directly at state/federal marketplaces. There are a lot of options, coverage levels, and subsidies for eligible persons. Also, don't forget that there are exclusive offers for low-income students through Medicaid. The features are similar but the costs are way lower.
- How does the plan work?You can go to a state or federal online marketplace, filter the plans, choose the most appropriate one, and even apply for subsidies.
- How to get it?Just visitHealthCare.govand find the appropriate plans based on your age, income and state of residence. Open and special enrollment periods matter here.
- Who is eligible?All American citizens except for imprisoned persons and students who already have a policy from Medicaid.
- Are there any pitfalls?There are different plans like bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. Lower plans feature cheaper premiums but higher deductibles.
4. Personal Workplace Plan
The main alternative to all the previous insurance offers is a workplace-based one. It's available to working students who want to get protection but can't get it from parents, college or marketplace. What's good, these policies include a lot of benefits. What's worse, they require to work a full day or a specific number of hours.
- How does the plan work?Terms and conditions depend on the employer. Often, co-pays, deductibles, and automatic deductions are available.
- How to get it?Your HR manager should definitely know the procedure. Usually, it's enough to sign a few forms to get a package.
- Who is eligible?The majority of health insurance plans for workers are available to full-time employees only.
- Are there any pitfalls?For students, it may be difficult to be eligible to get workplace insurance (i.e., to work full-time) and to study well.
5. Catastrophic Plan
The last option isn't the most suitable for students but you should consider it, too. Catastrophic packages feature low premiums, limited benefits, and high deductibles. They allow getting medical help three times per year, not more. Often, experts suggest applying for subsidized marketplace plans instead of catastrophic ones.
- How does the plan work?These offers focus on major but rare accidents. Students are limited to three doctor visits per year, and coverage is pretty limited.
- How to get it?Catastrophic plans are also available at the marketplaces. Some insurance companies can deliver them independently.
- Who is eligible?All citizens 30 can get such a policy. As well, customers of any age can get this plan if they aren't eligible for workplace or marketplace offers.
- Are there any pitfalls?Subsidies aren't available for these offers. Deductibles are relatively high and out-of-pocket expenses can be enormous.
A Life Without Insurance
Despite the notable improvements in the affordability of health policies, they still remain relatively expensive for students. A study by AgileHealthInsurance conducted in 2017, reports that a whopping 72% of college students and young graduates have problems with getting health coverage. Among them, 40% can't afford too high premiums, 20% emphasize high instant payments, and 12% face other challenges.
Well, is it a good idea to refuse to obtain a policy at all? We'd say no. Although the individual mandate penalties for being uninsured were removed from the ACA in 2019, it's still a good idea to protect yourself. At the end of the day, each student should evaluate the risks and the benefits individually, by comparing the expected healthcare expenses with regular insurance premiums.