College students have loads of things to worry about, such as paying tuition, working out class schedules, and of course, studying for finals. With so much on their plate, it’s not surprising that health insurance isn’t on their mind. Students often completely forget about health insurance. If you’re one of these students, start reading.
Here’s everything you need to know about student health insurance.
What’s your coverage?
Students are usually provided with a standard medical insurance by their universities. But pre-existing conditions often make it tough for students to get their needed coverage through their school’s insurance. For example, students may find that a condition they have is not covered by their school, in which case they should check into private health insurance providers.
Additionally, many health insurance companies cover full-time students under their parents’ plans. However, students typically have to be between 19-24 years of age for coverage to be available. Also, if students are studying out-of-state, they may be out of the insurer’s coverage area and won’t be covered under the plan.
Sometimes, universities demand that students have some kind of insurance before starting the school term. Although it may not be required, it is important to have some form of health insurance, as a large hospital bill is the last thing a student needs to deal with.
Even though you can simply buy a regular health care plan, there are some student-specific plans that may better suit the needs of a college student.
College Student Health Insurance Plan
To buy this insurance, you must be an undergraduate under the age of 30 and with a minimum of 6 or 9 credit hours. The qualifying criteria may differ from one state to another. Graduate students are also covered as long as they are eligible as full-time students registered in a state college. A major advantage of this kind of plan is that you have the freedom to choose any licensed doctor or hospital during a time of medical emergency.
This insurance plan provides yearly protection throughout the U.S., and coverage under the plan becomes effective almost immediately. Usually, the maximum amount permissible per illness or injury is $100,000. However, it is always important to check the maximum amount allowed for specific benefits as well, which you can find in your insurance policy.
Costs covered by this plan include intensive care, outpatient and inpatient surgery, inpatient prescription drugs, hospital boarding expenses, and pre-existing conditions coverage after a 12-month period.
Short-Term Health Insurance Plan
This type of insurance plan provides students with a short-term health insurance coverage for a period of 1 to 6 months.
Here again, students can receive treatment from any licensed doctor or hospital facility. Benefits can include surgery, ambulance and doctor diagnosis services, outpatient and in-hospital treatment, intensive care, and X-ray and laboratory costs. Of course, this will all depend on the exact plan and the insurer. Short-term health insurance is a non-renewable plan and may not be available in all states.
For students, this is often a great choice in terms of insurance because it provides the necessary coverage, and is usually the cheapest available option due to the short-term nature of the plan.
Study Abroad Insurance Plan
For students studying outside the U.S, normal student health insurance may not be available. In this case, students need short-term or long-term overseas student health insurance, depending on the duration of their stay in another country.
Nevertheless, there are many health insurers that provide renewable medical insurance for students studying abroad.
Insurance coverage while attending college is necessary, but the main concern is having the right kind of health insurance plan. It’s important to research the types of coverage available and to choose the one that best fits your health needs. Paying medical bills should be the least of a college student’s worries. Injuries and illnesses often strike unexpectedly, but at least you won’t have to worry about costs if you are adequately insured.
Ria is currently a student at Sarah Lawrence College pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Writing and Sociology. She enjoys spending time with friends and family in her free time. She also has a bad habit of starting new tv shows at the most inconvenient times.