I’m about to start college but don’t have enough money to pay for health insurance. What should I do?

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Asked January 26, 2012

1 Answer

Going off to college is a big step in a person's life, including the fact that living on or near campus is often the first time a young adult actually lives away from the parent's home. Because of that, such things as health insurance can become a major concern for college students, especially if you are attending full time classes and not able to afford purchasing the coverage for yourself.

If you are covered by your parent or guardian's health insurance coverage, and under the age of 26, you can continue the same coverage. Even if you are not living in your parent's home, you can be included on their insurance as long as you are a college student. That means you will have the same coverage you have had for years without worrying about finding new insurance just because you are away from home. As long as you are not a self-sufficient adult, paying for rent, car payments and other bills, you can remain on your parents insurance until you are 26, thanks to federal laws that require insurance companies to honor the coverage for young adults.

Many colleges and universities offer group health insurance to students. You will still have to pay the premiums, but such coverage is typically a lot less expensive than purchasing an individual health plan, and much easier to qualify for, because individual plans generally have strict rules regarding who can qualify for the plan and what conditions are excluded from coverage.

If you are not covered by the health insurance of a parent or guardian, you can apply for government assistance through Medicaid. This type of insurance is intended for people who are not able to buy conventional coverage. You will have to qualify for the coverage, which generally means proving that you are not financially able to secure coverage in another way, and not able to be included on someone else's policy. Medicaid should be your last resort, but if you do not have any other way to get insured, it is an acceptable alternative.

Answered January 26, 2012 by Anonymous

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