Off To College: Are You Insured?

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The following is one in a series of articles for students heading off to college. To help make your transition to school a smooth one, why not download your free copy of our College Moving Checklist today?

Between shopping for stuff, packing your goods, opening up a free college checking account and saying good-bye to family members and friends, it is understandable if you forget to bring something with you when you head off to college this fall. Most forgotten items can be shipped to you, but one “item” should be handled before you set foot on campus – health insurance. Let’s take a look at your health insurance and how you can ensure that you’re covered.

doctorNational health care is topping the news, but that doesn’t mean you have the coverage you need for the coming academic year. When you’re young, it is easy to overlook having coverage especially if you’re in excellent health and rarely set foot into a doctor’s office. After all, you’re feeling rather invincible!

Get The Coverage You Need

All it takes is for one emergency to happen and your world comes tumbling down. Sure, if you don’t have insurance coverage, your local hospital has to see you but wait times are usually awful and your family could still be left with a horrendous and costly bill. Instead, having some sort of coverage is essential, so let’s examine your options:

Parent’s Plan – The easiest way to make sure that you’re covered is to be included on your parent’s healthcare plan. Most company plans allow students who are enrolled full-time to be added, which is usually the cheapest way for students to get covered.

COBRA – If your parent(s) have recently lost their jobs and are eligible for COBRA coverage, then you can be included on that plan as well. Keep in mind that this insurance is expensive – your parents are paying their full share of coverage plus a 2% administrative fee which means that monthly payments of $800 to $1000 for a family of four is common. The federal government is currently subsidizing COBRA coverage for the first nine months of unemployment, picking up 65% of the cost. However, if your parent’s company has dissolved, COBRA is not an option.

Personal Insurance – Apart from the family health plan or COBRA coverage, the next option to seek is insurance on your own. Many colleges and universities offer group coverage for enrolled students, although these are usually basic plans with far few of the amenities (prescription coverage, emergency room visits, etc.) that individual policies offer. Search for private health insurance coverage online and compare offers. Even if your parents have coverage through work or via COBRA, it may be more cost effective for you to get your own insurance.

Don’t Leave Home Without It

Without health insurance coverage, you’ll have to settle for whatever care you can get. With health insurance coverage, you can choose your own doctors and have more control over your care, so don’t go off to college without making sure that you are adequately covered.

Adv. — Are you considering a career training or continuing education loan? If so, visit your Sallie Mae lender for more information or call them directly at 866-530-9523.

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Categories: Personal Advice