I’m a college student with no health or dental insurance, what are my options?
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Asked January 16, 2012
It is not unusual for college students to have no insurance coverage of their own, but that does not change the fact that everyone should have dental and health insurance. For college students, the options for insurance coverage are several, including group coverage through the school or simply remaining on their parents' coverage until they graduate. The problem is, very few college students realize there are choices available, and either pay too much for coverage because of the risks associated with being young, or have to struggle through without any coverage at all.
The easiest option, if your parents have insurance, is for you to remain on their coverage. Unlike many other things, insurance does not automatically terminate when you turn 18. By law, you can remain on your parent's insurance plan until you are 26, even if you graduate before your 26th birthday. The exception to this law is that you cannot remain on your parent's insurance if you are not in college and no longer at your parent's home. In that situation, you will have to get your own coverage.
The next choice is to purchase insurance through the school's group insurance plan, if one is available. Many universities offer group health insurance to full time students, but they may require you to live on campus or have other conditions that must be met. It is also possible to purchase group health or dental coverage through other organizations if you qualify, such as buying coverage through AAA.
If you cannot remain on your parents' coverage and there is no group insurance available, you could look into buying individual health or dental insurance, but the rates for individual coverage tend to be much higher and individual plans are often a lot more conservative, requiring a physical examination or refusing insurance to people with certain preexisting conditions.
If no other options are available, you may qualify for coverage through a government sponsored plan such as Medicaid. In order to qualify, you will have to meet the requirements for coverage, which usually means that you cannot have access to coverage from your parents or the financial ability to purchase individual coverage. Medicaid is a federal insurance program that is managed at the state level, and is typically only available to people with little or no income, which includes a large number of college students who are on their own for the first time.
Answered January 16, 2012 by Anonymous