Student Health Insurance
Student health insurance, sometimes referred to as academic health insurance, is a temporary policy that covers college students who have no employer sponsored health insurance and who are ineligible for continuing coverage under their parents’ insurance plan. Student health insurance can provide valuable benefits to your child and can offer you peace of mind while they are away from home. Student health insurance may also apply to adults who return to college full time and subsequently lose or have no existing coverage.
If your child is enrolling in college or already attending, you may or may not have thought about their health insurance needs. The fact is that many children become ineligible for continuing coverage under their parents’ plan or the coverage is too expensive to afford. You don’t want to send your child away to school without protection, especially if it means they will avoid seeking medical care to avoid the expense.
Student health insurance can be obtained a couple of different ways. Many colleges offer student health insurance options at the time of enrollment. Typically, these plans require that the student be full time, however some schools have a student health insurance option for students attending three-quarters of full-time. The best way to learn about student health insurance options through your child’s school is to ask for information from your child’s advisor or admissions councilor.
If your child’s school does not have a student health insurance option, then they can obtain it in the open market. Most often, this is the last resort, but in some cases you might be able to find the most affordable plan in the open market. There will always be specific criteria to qualify, but typically relates more to COBRA eligibility and whether there are any other plans available to the student. COBRA refers to The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) and your child may qualify for continuation of coverage under your existing health insurance policy if they meet the guideline requirements.
Typically, student health insurance plans offered through a university will cover costs of medical care at a university clinic and a local hospital. If there is no clinic on campus, coverage usually extends to an urgent care facility located nearby. If you are covering your child under COBRA or a private policy, be sure to go over the coverage limitations so that your child knows where she can seek treatment and benefits still apply. Do not assume that coverage is not limited to certain facilities or doctors and be prepared to help your child locate a facility or doctor that they can use while they are away at school.
Student health insurance is temporary coverage and if your child fails to meet the guideline requirements, can be revoked. Make sure you examine all policies closely to gain an understanding of what is and is not covered. Instruct your child to adhere to the guidelines that apply to eligibility and benefit payments. It is also important to keep an eye on the policy and benefits during your child’s academic career. If you have questions about whether an existing policy will cover your child, call your plan’s benefit coordinator or administrator.
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