When a son or daughter is beginning college an important decision must be made regarding the student’s health insurance coverage. The largest decision requires choosing between whether or not you want to purchase individual health insurance under the school’s policy for the student. Most universities and colleges require their students to be covered by some type of health insurance policy. This could mean staying on under the family insurance plan, only purchasing individual insurance, or being covered by both family and individual plans.
Almost all universities and colleges allow students to opt in or out of individual health insurance coverage. In some cases individual health insurance is automatically factored into the tuition bill. At other schools, the health insurance is billed for and the student has to waive student insurance. They would then receive back the portion of money in their tuition that covered health insurance.
When it comes to deciding whether to get the student plan or not, there are several important factors that need to be considered. Foremost, check to see what your family health insurance policy would not be good for before deciding to switch a student to an individual plan as the only source of health insurance. Often, school insurance policies do not provide suitable coverage away from the university health center. This means higher costs if the student is off-campus and they were to need medical treatment. Furthermore, individual student plans provided by schools tend to not provide substantial coverage for large and expensive medical bills. This could hurt the hardest when families would actually need money from insurance the most. A family insurance plan would be a good back up for students that run into higher-than-average medical bills from an extended hospital stay or an expensive treatment regiment.
Another factor to consider regarding individual student insurance plans is that they often do not provide coverage during the summer sessions. This means that the student would need to purchase additional insurance outside of the insurance bills that are already being paid as part of tuition. Ultimately, additional insurance means additional costs.
However, there are some substantial benefits to purchasing the individual student policy in addition to keeping the student covered by the family plan. The student’s school policy would be much more likely to cover preventative care exceptionally well. This includes regular eye exams, physicals, and simple check ups at the campus health center that might not be warranted under some family plans. Better preventative care can help reduce the risk of negative health developments or catch more dangerous problems earlier. This means health bills later on could be dramatically reduced. Overall, a little bit of additional cost towards a student plan could save a significant amount more in the long run.
Another benefit of purchasing the individual plan is that care from doctors other than the primary physician will be less expensive. Otherwise, it could be harder and more expensive for the student to see a doctor on or near campus. It may be more expensive for the student to have to return home just to see their primary physician. The school plan also comes into play if the university or college has a hospital on campus. Most school insurance plans cover a student’s campus hospital stay for a short amount of time. This could be cheaper than if the student was merely on the family plan.
Overall, universities and colleges provide an optional service for their students in regards to student health insurance. Often it is very inexpensive and can help tremendously with problems as they arise during the semester. Since they are often inexpensive, it is worthwhile to sit down and seriously consider purchasing the policy even if the student will remain covered under a family insurance plan. Plus, if a student knows that they can obtain suitable coverage at a cheap price in the campus health center, they are much more likely to seek out the care they need.