Choosing a Health Plan When You’re a Student

Choosing a health plan when you’re a student can seem very overwhelming, but you do have choices. Here are some options to consider:

Stay on a current plan (family coverage) through an employer. Dependents under age 26 may continue coverage with a parent’s plan. There may be less expensive options, but this is how many college students have health insurance.

If the student is over 26 or will “age out” of a parent’s plan, the student qualifies for a Special Enrollment Period to buy health insurance. The Special Enrollment Period starts 60 days before the student loses coverage and ends 60 days after.

Ask the college admissions what insurance options they offer for students. This is often very affordable, BUT you must look at the coverage carefully. They can be a good value of coverage for the premium, BUT some are limited in coverage and provider access outside of the campus clinic or medical services option.

Short-Term Medical plans. These are generally referred to as “Catastrophic” plans because these plans have very limited, if any, coverage for just going to the doctor for minor issues. These plans are very inexpensive and cover medical costs above the deductible—say $5,000. For young people that are healthy, and don’t visit a doctor much, this can be a attractive option.

This is not an exhaustive list of options, but these are some of the best options to consider for those going off to college.