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Compare & Contrast: Student Health Insurance Options

gradhatSo, you’re under 26 and in school full time. That means you can join or remain on your parent’s health insurance policy, opt for a university plan, or find your own individual health plan. Consider these pros and cons.






College/University Student Health Plan

Pros

  • On average, campus plans can cost much less than an individual policy or being added as a dependent to a parent’s plan. Premiums for a university-funded health insurance plan can be as low as $30 annually, although the average is about $850 per year.
  • Fewer bills to manage. At many schools, the cost of your university plan can be included in your tuition.
  • Very little choice on coverage and benefits to tailor to specific needs.
  • College plans act more like temporary health insurance than individual health insurance and may not cover as many benefits or health care providers.
  • Typically more restricted health care provider network
  • Coverage ends after graduation, requiring you to find coverage elsewhere before landing a job.

Cons

  • Very little choice on coverage and benefits to tailor to specific needs.
  • College plans act more like temporary health insurance than individual health insurance and may not cover as many benefits or health care providers.
  • Typically more restricted health care provider network
  • Coverage ends after graduation, requiring you to find coverage elsewhere before landing a job.

A Parent’s Health Insurance Plan

Pros

  • Sometimes it is more affordable to add a dependent on to an existing health plan rather than purchasing a new one.
  • With a parent’s plan, you will likely already have a general idea of the benefits and network of doctors available if your parents have been on the same plan for some time.

Cons

  • You may find that your parent’s plan doesn’t cover out-of-network providers, which may be necessary if your school is far from home.
  • You may not have access to college health clinics if they’re not included in your parent’s plan network.
  • You could have problems joining a parent’s plan. For example, their plan could be “grandfathered,” meaning it may not allow you to be added as a dependent.
  • If you can join, your parents will have to pay extra for adding a dependent to their current plan. Some employers have started passing much more of the cost for dependent policies on to employees.

Individual Health Insurance

Pros

  • With a parent’s plan, you will likely already have a general idea of the benefits and network of doctors available if your parents have been on the same plan for some time.
  • You may find that your parent’s plan doesn’t cover out-of-network providers, which may be necessary if your school is far from home.
  • Full flexibility of choosing tailored coverage for your health and budget needs.
  • Your coverage won’t end after you graduate.
  • Many colleges require students to purchase health insurance. This would eliminate the cost of paying for mandatory student health insurance through universities.

Cons

  • If you have pre-existing conditions, you could be denied coverage or not have benefits related to that health condition.
  • Depending on your situation, it may be more affordable to stay on a pa rent’s plan or choose a university plan.

To check out our Student Health Insurance Survival Guide in its entirety, click this link:

Student Health Insurance Survival Guide

General Healthcare, Group Health Insurance, Individual Health Insurance