As a student, what type of health insurance coverage should I buy?

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Asked September 14, 2015

1 Answer


The first consideration, where college and a health insurance plan are concerned, is whether you actually need a policy at all. Under the Affordable Care Act, or ACA for short, college students who are under the age of 26 are entitled to stay on their parent's health insurance. If you do not qualify for this option, you still have several affordable options available.

Another provision of the ACA is the requirement for everyone to have health insurance. For people who are in good health, the requirement can be opted out of, but you will have to pay a minimum ""fine,"" currently around $100. Instead of paying for health insurance, this option covers you for catastrophic care, which means that you have insurance if something horrible goes wrong, but you do not have coverage for preventive care.

Beyond those two options, things get a little more complicated. As the ACA goes into effect, one portion at a time, college students, like everyone else, will be directed to health insurance marketplaces. If you are residing in a state what does not have a state health insurance marketplace, there is a federal marketplace available to make sure that you have options available. The marketplace will provide you with one or more insurance options, and allow you to tailor the policy for your personal needs, to a certain extent.

You will always have the option of buying your health insurance from the open market. For that, a website such as this one could be your best choice. As an independent brokerage, this website represents several different insurance companies who are competing for your business. This helps keep the cost of coverage down, and gives you choices for your insurance coverage.

As far as the type of coverage you need, you will have to make the choice. If you are healthy, a catastrophic plan is the most affordable route to take, but it could leave you personally liable if you need health care of a non-catastrophic nature. Unless you are in top health, consider picking up a minimum amount of coverage, such as the bronze plans offered through most health insurance marketplaces.

Answered September 23, 2015 by Anonymous

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