Health insurance is one of those things that you often don’t think about until you need it. And when you’re a college student, the last thing you want to worry about is getting sick or injured and being stuck with a huge medical bill.
Many young adults don’t consider their health insurance needs until they face an unexpected medical emergency. It’s important to understand your health insurance options as a student so you can be prepared for anything coming your way.
This blog post will cover the basics of health insurance for students and some of the top options to consider. Let’s get started.
What is Health Insurance?
In its simplest form, health insurance is a type of insurance that helps to pay for your medical expenses. It can help you pay for doctor’s visits, hospital stays, prescription drugs, and more. It can also help you access preventive care, like vaccinations and screenings, keeping you healthy and catching problems early.
Main Types Of Insurance Plans
Different types of health insurance plans are available, and it is important to understand the basics before deciding. The four main ones include HMOs, PPOs, EPOs, and POS plans.
- HMOs (Health Maintenance Organizations) are the most common type of health insurance plan. They typically have low premiums and deductibles, but you must use in-network providers.
- PPOs (Preferred Provider Organizations) also have low premiums and deductibles, but you can see out-of-network providers, though you will pay more for doing so.
- EPOs (Exclusive Provider Organizations) are similar to PPOs, but you must use in-network providers and have no out-of-network coverage.
- POS plans (Point of Service plans) are a mix of HMO and PPO plans, and you can choose whether to use in- or out-of-network providers, though you will pay more for out-of-network care.
It is important to understand your needs before choosing a health insurance plan. If you have a chronic illness or condition, you want to ensure that your plan covers your specific needs. College students are often on a budget, so it is important to find an affordable plan. It is also important to consider whether you need dental or vision coverage, as these are often not included in health insurance plans.
Plans Offered By School
For many students, the health insurance offered by their school can be an easy and affordable way to get basic coverage. In most cases, student health plans count as qualifying health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, meaning enrollees will not have to pay the penalty for not having insurance. However, checking your particular plan is important to ensure this is the case.
Stay On Parents’ Health Insurance Plan
Students covered by a parent’s health insurance plan can usually be added as a dependent until they turn 26. If you are about to turn 26 and be removed from your parents’ plan, there are still options for you to get health coverage.
- Your parent can add you to their insurance during the plan’s yearly Open Enrollment Period or during a Special Enrollment Period.
- Another option is if your parent applies for a new plan in the Marketplace, they can include you on their application. You can also be added to an existing Marketplace plan only during the yearly Open Enrollment Period or a Special Enrollment Period. Check your parent’s health insurance plans or benefits department for more details.
The age limit for staying on a parent’s health insurance plan was raised to 26 in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Before this, many young adults were cut off from their parent’s coverage at age 19 (or when they graduated from college). The 26-year-old limit applies to job-based and individual market plans purchased through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
There are a few exceptions to the 26-year-old rule. If you have access to job-based health insurance through your employer, you are not eligible to stay on your parent’s plan.
In addition, if your state has enacted a law that allows young adults to stay on their parent’s health insurance past age 26, you will be subject to that law.
If a parent’s Marketplace plan covers you, you can remain covered through December 31, the year you turn 26 (or the age permitted in your state). After that, you will need to purchase your health insurance coverage plan.
The 3 Best Health Insurance for College Students in 2022
Private health insurance is vital for college students if you’re a dependent above 26. It offers protection in the event of an unforeseen accident or illness and can provide peace of mind during a time when young adults are just starting on their own.
Several different health insurance plans are available to college students, and it can be difficult to know which one is right for you. To help you make the best decision for your needs, we’ve compiled a list of the three best health insurance plans for college students in 2022.
1. Best Overall: Cigna
Cigna is a leading private health insurance provider, and its student health insurance plan is among the best on the market. The plan provides comprehensive coverage, with no deductible or copayments for preventive care. It also offers low out-of-pocket prescriptions, mental health, and vision care costs.
The plans offered by Cigna are divided into different categories, which include bronze, silver, gold, and platinum plans. The prices for the premiums offered in these tiers range from being affordable to being a bit expensive. However, all of the plans provided by Cigna offer $0 preventive care. So, if you need an annual checkup or a flu shot, you can get it done without spending any extra money.
Choose between HMO plans which limit you to in-network providers, or PPO plans for more freedom when you buy insurance from Cigna. The sort of plan you select may require that you find new healthcare providers. If your doctor isn’t part of the HMO network, you will need to look for a new one covered by the plan. Insurance coverage for office visits may be affected if you don’t switch to an in-network physician.
2. Best Short-Term Coverage: Everest
Everest is a great option for college students only looking for short-term health insurance coverage. Their plans are designed to be flexible and can be customized to fit your specific needs. They also offer some of the lowest premiums in the market, making them a great choice for budget-conscious students.
The customizable options offered by Everest make it the best choice for short-term coverage among health insurance providers. You can choose a deductible that meets your budget, ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. In addition, you can also select your copay amount between $40 and $50. Lastly, depending on your needs, you can determine your own coverage maximum; coverage limits range from $250,000 to $1.5 million.
Some drawbacks of Everest’s short-term policies are that they lack prescription drug coverage, vision care, or dental services. Also, your policy will not cover treatments if you have a pre-existing condition. With these restrictions, Everest’s plans could be best for college students who are generally in good health without ongoing medical needs.
Best for International Students: IMG
IMG is a leading provider of health insurance for international students. Their plan provides comprehensive coverage, including doctor visits, hospitalization, and prescription drugs. It also offers evacuation and repatriation coverage if you must return home due to a medical emergency.
With an additional cost, you can add coverage options and riders to your policy through IMG. It protects against loss or theft of your baggage, valuables, and personal papers. Personal liability protection is also included. However, the availability of these coverages may differ based on policy type, location, and other conditions. However, having these coverages can give you peace of mind when something unfortunate happens during your travels.
If you have a pre-existing condition, such as a chronic illness, treatments for that condition are often not covered until after a waiting period. The periods vary with plan types, but they are often 6-12 months. Depending on your chosen plan, you can opt for a maximum limit ranging from $50,000 to $8 million.
However, you should be aware that the J1 and J2 visas require a minimum of $100,000 coverage. Adventure sports riders can be added to your policy for coverage if you engage in any dangerous sports, such as bobsledding, parachuting, whitewater kayaking, or windsurfing.
No matter your specific needs, there is a health insurance plan out there that will be a perfect fit for you. Be sure to research and compare different plans before making a final decision.
How To Choose The Best Student Health Plan?
The best student health insurance plan is the one that works for you and your budget. No two students are the same, so there is no such thing as a “one size fits all” student health insurance plan. When it comes to choosing a student health insurance plan, there are a few things you need to take into consideration.
- Medical Needs: The first thing you need to do is look at your medical needs. Do you have any chronic health conditions that require regular medication or doctor visits? If so, you’ll want to ensure that your student health insurance plan covers those needs.
- Location: Another thing to consider is your location. If you’re going to school in a different state than where you currently live, you’ll need to ensure that your student health insurance covers you in both states.
- Budget: You’ll also need to consider your budget when choosing a student health insurance plan. There are various plans available, so there’s bound to be one that fits your needs and budget.
- International Students: If you’re an international student, you may be required to have health insurance to attend school in the United States. If this is the case, your school will likely have a list of approved health insurance providers.
Once you’ve considered all of these factors, you should be able to narrow down your options and choose the best student health insurance plan for you.
1. What’s The Cost Of Health Insurance As A Student?
The cost will depend on the type of coverage you need and the state you live in, but it is generally cheaper than private insurance. You can also get discounts if you are a member of certain organizations.
2. What Does Health Insurance As A Student Cover?
Students have many different types of health insurance plans, so it is important to check with your school or insurer to see what is covered. Generally, most plans will cover doctor’s visits, prescriptions, mental health services, and hospitalization.
3. What Are The Benefits Of Health Insurance?
There are many benefits to having health insurance as a student. It can help you stay healthy, avoid expensive medical bills, and get the care you need if you become ill or injured. Also, if you plan to study abroad, having health insurance can give you peace of mind knowing that you are covered in case of an accident or illness.
With all of this in mind, students need to research their options and find the health insurance plan that best suits their individual needs. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for health insurance, but students can find a plan that meets their unique needs and budget by understanding the basics and knowing what to look for. With so many options available, there is sure to be a plan that’s right for you. So don’t delay. Start your search today!