I’m going to college soon. Do I need my own health insurance or can I stay on my parents’ plan?

UPDATED: Mar 5, 2012

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UPDATED: Mar 5, 2012Fact Checked

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Asked March 5, 2012

1 Answer

Leaving home to attend college courses is a big step for many young adults. For many, college is the first step towards independence, but the cost of insurance is frighteningly high for college students, many of whom do not have the financial ability to afford coverage of their own. Health insurance is important, but many college students are not able to pay for insurance, and the prospect of losing their coverage can be daunting.

If you are currently covered by your parent's health insurance, and are under the age of 26, your health insurance will continue even when you leave home to go to college. Recent overhauls in the health insurance industry have resulted in health insurance companies being required to honor your coverage up until age 26 as long as you live at home or attend college full time.

Under the latest legislation, insurance companies cannot cancel your coverage simply because you are attending college courses far from home. In fact, the way the laws are written, as long as you are not self-sufficient, meaning that you have your own home and pay your own way in the world, you can remain on your parents' insurance well into your twenties. The purpose of the law is to prevent young people from losing their insurance due to technicalities such as turning 21 or living in a college dorm away from home. By extending the age limit to 26, a majority of college students have the opportunity to get an education and attain a career before they are forced to purchase their own coverage.

On the other hand, you will be required to seek your own coverage once you become emancipated. The idea is that once you are in a position where you can be responsible for your own bills, such as rent and utilities, you should also be able to find health insurance. But as long as you are enrolled in full time college courses, you can concentrate on earning a degree without being distracted by the necessity of health insurance.

Answered March 5, 2012 by Anonymous

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