Health Insurance: Are You Covered?

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As a college student, it is easy to overlook medical coverage when considering college costs. After all, you are young and vibrant and if you come down with strep throat or a fever, a trip to the college infirmary will take care of you.

Welcome to reality! Your college isn’t responsible for your care and even if they do have a medical plan for students, it may not suit your needs. Accidents do happen and some illnesses can quickly set you or your family back thousands of dollars. Read on and we’ll take a look at some ways you can get the right insurance coverage while attending college.

Your Parents’ Plans — Many students are covered on their parents’ health plan for the entire time that they are in college. Your parents will probably have to pay extra to keep you covered, but that amount should be a lot less than what you could get on your own.  Most have a specific cut off age, such as 23 1/2 or 25, even later.

Your College Health Plan — Some universities offer discounted health care coverage for students. One plan may offer year ’round coverage while another one may only cover you except during summer break. Don’t let any gaps in coverage catch you unawares!

Your Student Health Service — If you are planning to live on campus,  some schools will include access to the Student Health Service department. There, you can get limited health care assistance, counseling, information and advice. Some are staffed by a variety of medical professionals, but you’ll still need separate hospital insurance if you require special care.

Your Choice of Plans — Insurance for just $30 per month sounds like a bargain until you learn what it covers (or doesn’t). Some plans are called health assurance meaning you’ll get a discount for visiting a doctor or maybe save a few bucks on prescriptions. You want either an HMO or PPO plan, one that provides coverage for doctor’s visits, hospital stays, prescription medicines, etc.

Your Right to Be Seen — Hospitals are required to take you in through their emergency room whether you have insurance or not. Just don’t expect to be seen right away and you still may be saddled with a big bill afterwards. Some students may be eligible for state or federal Medicaid which can cover most health needs.

You Can Do Your Part

Finally, you can do your part to encourage good health by eating right, getting enough sleep, exercise, avoid over drinking, refrain from smoking, and getting your annual flu shot. Your healthy lifestyle along with a decent health insurance plan can protect you and ensure that your college years are healthy ones.

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Categories: Personal Advice