By Elizabeth Newberry
Most educational institutions in the United States require a
student to have at least a minimum amount of health care
insurance. Unfortunately, most students are often in the
unfortunate position of not being able to afford to pay much
for their insurance. As with anything else, the first rule is
simply to shop around - this can be done easily by phone or by
comparing quotes on-line.
Check to see if you are covered for health insurance under
parent’s existing insurance plan. If you were previously
under your parent’s health insurance before going to school,
your parent’s insurance company may offer to continue your
benefits for another 18 months.
This extra coverage is known as COBRA but the extra cost to
include a student as a dependent on an employer’s coverage can
vary – it isn’t always cheaper. Some plans require a student
be a certain age, usually 19 – 23 or they may require you to
have a certain minimum number of college credit hours.
Your college or university will probably offer you a choice of
health care plans – some of these may be group plans offering
coverage through a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) or a
Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) If you are going to
school outside an area with HMO or PPO coverage, you may pay
more for your health insurance.
Coverage through one of these organizations is usually cheaper
than if you simply took out health insurance for yourself.
However, many college plans are often basic and you may want
have more comprehensive coverage than they normally provide.
your educational facility has its own hospital or medical
school, a plan that makes use of these facilities may save you
Health insurance plans for students have the usual exclusions
and restrictions – they may not cover you in the event of a
pre-existing condition. And two of the things students
traditionally enjoy may not be covered – there may be
exclusions for sports injuries, and the coverage may not be
valid when traveling outside the United States.
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