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Affordable Student Health Insurance

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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 your parent’s existing insurance plan. If you were previously covered 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 to 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 to have more comprehensive coverage than they normally provide. If your educational facility has its own hospital or medical school, a plan that makes use of these facilities may save you money.

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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