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Students 'Make the Grade' with Many Health Insurance Options

January 20, 2018

You're young, you're healthy and you’re thinking student health insurance is too expensive and probably just not worth it right now.

But when it comes to your health, going without insurance is too risky – regardless of your age. Nobody “plans” on breaking a leg and spending up to $8,000 to treat it, or being in the hospital for three days and running up a $30,000 tab, but it happens.

If you're already paying college or university tuition and expenses, consider the added weight a serious accident or illness can put on your finances now and later. Then consider the true benefits of a health care plan.

Why Young Adults Need Health Care Plans Now

Most adults in the United States are required to have a health plan or pay a penalty, and college students are no exception. The good news is that you have great choices, so it's easy to make the best one for your particular situation. You can select from these options:

  • Your parents’ plan. You can typically stay on your parents' family health plan until age 26 under the Affordable Care Act. You can do this whether or not you have a full-time job, live with your parents, go to school, are married, are claimed as a dependent on your parents' taxes, and can enroll in your employers' health plan.
  • School plan. If your situation doesn’t lend itself to being on your parents’ plan, check out health plans where you go to school, since these can be very reasonably priced.
  • Marketplace plan. Marketplace health plans from the federal government's website, HealthCare.gov, cover essential health services and offer many other benefits. Depending on your income, you may qualify for a premium subsidy to lower your payments. Open Enrollment normally begins in November.
  • Catastrophic plan. This type of plan helps in worst-case scenarios. You are responsible for all care required until you reach your maximum or deductible. You may like this plan if you're seeking lower premiums, are generally healthy and can handle high out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Medicaid for Young Adults. This state and federal government program provides health coverage if you have limited income or meet other eligibility requirements. Medicaid coverage can be very inexpensive or even free. See if you qualify here.
  • Employment-based. Having a job, even if it's part time, may allow you to enroll in your employer's health plan. It's worth asking during your interview process when benefits are discussed. At least review the plan and compare it with others you may consider.

Again, it's nice to have choices. With so many available to you, you'll find the right plan at the right price. You'll worry less about "what if" because you know you have coverage if you ever need it.

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