Sending a child off to college is a significant milestone that represents the culmination of years of planning and hard work. As you prepare for the start of the semester, you should consider how your insurance needs may change with your son or daughter away at school. While rental insurance and auto insurance are certainly considerations, let’s look at the type of insurance that may have the most financial impact on your student’s college career.
College students have a variety of health insurance options, and it is important to examine the benefits and drawbacks of each one in order to choose the right health insurance for your college student.
Students may remain on their parents’ health plan. Individuals up to age 26 who are not eligible for group coverage outside their parents’ plan are entitled to coverage on their parents’ plan. This can be a convenient option because all billing and claims are handled by you and there are no worries about whether your student will remember to pay the bill. However, if your student chooses to attend school in a different state, the coverage levels may drop, and it may be more expensive than other coverage options. With this choice, it is important to look at in-network and out-of-network options and determine how difficult and expensive it may be to obtain care while away at school.
Students may purchase a School-sponsored Health Insurance Plan. Many schools offer insurance plans for full-time students. They tend to be relatively affordable and convenient, as medical services are often available on campus. However, the plan may not cover services received off campus and may have limits in the coverage. This plan also will drop coverage at graduation or may end coverage if a student drops below full-time status.
Students may purchase an independent student Health Insurance Plan. Full-time students ages 17-29 at a state-accredited college are eligible. One major advantage is that coverage travels with your student if they go to school in a different state or change schools. But, it may be more expensive than individual health coverage or may not be available in your state.
Finally, you can purchase an Individual Health Insurance Plan for your student in the state where they are attending school. Most states offer several affordable options with a range of benefit options, and the biggest advantage is that you can keep this coverage is not dependent on student status. It will continue to cover your student after graduation, during breaks, or if they change from full-time to part-time. One downfall is that medical claims may not be paid at the highest level when at home if the policy was purchased in another state.
How to Make the Best Decision for Your Student
In order to choose the right health insurance for your college student’s situation, consider the following criteria:
Health Benefits: Make sure you know what benefits each plan you’re considering offers. Buy only what is important to you, but don’t skimp on benefits that you truly need.
Costs: Consider which plans match your budget in terms of premium, deductible, copayments and coinsurance.
Physician Network: If you have a preferred doctor, make sure to check which plans include him or her in their physician network. If the student is going away to school, they will likely be changing doctors and this won’t apply.
Location: Which health plans serve the area where your student will be attending college? Make sure you choose a plan that covers the area in which your student will be going to school.
We’re Here to Help
Don’t put off this important decision ‘til the last minute. Give Roper Insurance a call today at 303-721-1145 and let us help you make sure you’re starting your college student off on the right foot. We will make sure that you are informed about all your coverage options so you can make the best choice for your health and budget.