What type of health insurance coverage is available for college students?

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Asked February 7, 2012

1 Answer

Entering college is a big step in a person's maturity, and so is buying health and other insurance products. But you do not have to be confused by insurance, or worry that coverage is not available. All you have to do is shop around a bit, consider your options, and choose the plan that works best for you.

Your first option, if your parents have health insurance, is to simply remain on your parents' coverage. Federal law has changed for the benefit of young adults, allowing them to remain on their parent's insurance until the age of 26 if they still live at home or are enrolled in college courses. That gives young adults a few years after reaching adulthood before they are forced to purchase their own insurance coverage and start putting more focus on their financial future.

Another option for college students is to check with the campus administration. Many universities offer group health rates to their students. Since the rates are based on group participation, they are both lower than buying private insurance as well as being an option for people who may not qualify for private insurance because of preexisting conditions.

Private insurance is an option for everyone, but qualifying for private coverage is more involved than purchasing health insurance through a group offering. Private insurance requires a medical examination, and most private insurers have specific rules regarding preexisting conditions such as diabetes or asthma. Once you are accepted by private insurance, the rates are always going to be higher than for a group plan, based on the fact that fewer people are participating in your plan and therefore, each participant must pay a higher percentage of the total cost to the insurance company.

If all else fails, you may be able to get government sponsored health care through the Medicaid plan. In order to qualify, you will have to be a single parent, pregnant, and fall into a low income bracket. Medicaid insurance is available to those who cannot afford regular health insurance, but it should be regarded as a last resort when all of your other options have been exhausted.

Answered February 7, 2012 by Anonymous

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