Health insurance is very important for students. But it is found that quite a large number of students, both studying medicine and other fields, depend on their university's health care provider rather than paying for insurance. It is usually seen that only those students who go abroad for higher studies apply for student insurance as there are various international student health insurances. But student insurance is very necessary. No matter that you are in your prime youth age, you are in your best of health, you never know when calamity strikes. Accidents and sudden illness can happen to anyone at any time and medical expenses are not cheap. So it is important you have health insurance coverage.
Health Insurance Plans for Students
Stick to your parent's health insurance
This is an easy option where your insurance as a student is covered in your parent's health insurance. According to Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which started in September 2010, parents' health insurance should also cover their children upto 26 years of age, unless he is eligible for employer health coverage. But there are certain factors to consider like if your parents' coverage is an HMO, full coverage will be given only in the area where they live. There are certain HMOs, which allow for coverage in areas outside their local base. But you should know this before applying for insurance. Same is the case with preferred provider organization (PPO), where you get treatment from a medical practitioner within a specified network to get the best rates. So at times, you have to come to the specified locality to get the lowest co-payments and co-insurance but which might be far away from your school or college.
Opt for COBRA if you are not in parents' health insurance
If you have a group health insurance in your job and for some reasons you have left the job, then a federal law called COBRA allows you to stay on that health insurance plan for at least 18 months as long as you pay the full premiums. Similarly if you are above the age of 26 years and still studying you may lose the health insurance coverage that your parents have been providing. However, you may be eligible for COBRA continuation coverage for some period of time, depending whether your insurance agent provides this or not.
Check out whether your school/university offers health insurance
Many colleges and universities offer certain health plans for their students which may not be expensive. Before taking admissions in a certain college or university, you have to check this out on your own and preferably take admissions in such colleges only. Some colleges and universities may require that you carry some type of comprehensive health care coverage as a condition of enrollment. It is better to opt for comprehensive medical policy that will cover visits to the student health care unit, specialists, medically-necessary process and diagnostic tests.
Buy your own health insurance
If your university does not offer a health plan, you can consider buying an individual health insurance policy through an insurance agent. Such policies may be expensive and will carry out a proper test before providing you with coverage. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, a medical insurance plan may either refuse to cover you or at times may impose a pre-existing condition exclusion period. However, effective January 1, 2014, all health insurance plans will no longer be allowed to impose a pre-existing condition waiting period. Also, starting in 2014, health coverage can also be purchased in a health insurance exchange in your state or region.
Student health insurance through Medicaid
If your family's income is low, your family has to many high medical bills, or you have a pre-existing disability, you may apply for Medicaid. To find out if you are eligible, you need to check with your state’s insurance department.
Find a Community Health Center
If you do not have a health insurance and you are not in a position to buy one, then you should try looking for a federally-qualified community health center (FQHC) near your college, which provide medical treatments at lower costs. This is a cheap student health insurance.
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