College Student Insurance – Invest in yourself, you are worth it!

Every year hundreds of thousands of students head to college to pursue their dreams. Young college going students are vulnerable to illnesses, accidents and consequences of bad decisions like use of drugs, tobacco and alcohol etc. When such medical emergencies occur, students may not be in a position to pay for the right kind of treatment they need. Here comes the role of insurance. Having the right health insurance covers the cost of ailments and emergencies that arise while they are in school. College students have several options that count as qualified health insurance.

college students

Coverage under parent’s insurance plan:

Students under the age of 26 can remain on their parent’s health insurance. Though this may sound cool, there are a few things to check before continuing on your parent’s health plan. If you go to a college in a different state from where your parents live, you may have to go home for any major or minor medical needs, as the plan may not cover any local doctors. If it does, it is important for parents and students to find out how the insurer will reimburse claims that occur in the college town. Parents can obtain coverage for their children by contacting their providers and providing documentation of their age and current uninsured status.

Sign-up for a health plan at school:

Many universities and colleges offer their own health plans to students. This can be an easy and affordable way to get basic health insurance coverage. The biggest advantage of this plan is that the premium costs are grouped with other expenses such as tuition, room and board, which means that you can use student loans to pay for it! Unless the student provides an alternate coverage that meets ACA requirements, sign up for this plan will be automatically done with enrollment. You will be covered for the entire period for which you are enrolled and have paid premiums. This includes semester breaks, summer vacation and even your travel or study abroad.

Students enrolled in other comparable health insurance plan are eligible for a waiver. Before waiving the student health insurance plan, one must carefully evaluate the coverage provided by the existing plan and make sure that it meets all the mandatory requirements.

Marketplace health plans:

This covers all essential health benefits at lower rates. With this plan you may also qualify to receive financial help from the government to pay for your plan. To sign up for this plan, log into the state marketplace website or the federal government site.

Catastrophic health insurance plan:

This is available only to students under the age of 30 and only covers extremely expensive health emergencies. Catastrophic health plans are much cheaper than traditional health insurance plans, but they come with very high deductibles, as high as $6,000. If you are eligible for a catastrophic plan, it will be displayed when you compare plans in the Marketplace.

Health insurance through Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP): Students from low-income families can take advantage of this plan. You can find out if you are qualified for Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) when you apply for coverage through the Marketplace. To sign up for this plan, log into the state marketplace website or the federal government site.

Popular Plans for students needing coverage outside the US

Various plans are available in the market that offer the required coverage. Here’s a look at the popular plans:

  1. Patriot International:

    Patriot International is a comprehensive and cost-effective travel insurance suitable for college students studying abroad. It is administered by IMG (International Medical Group) and underwritten by Sirius International and has an A “Excellent” rating by A.M. Best. The plan has policy maximums ranging from $50,000 to $2,000,000 and deductibles ranging from $0 to $2,500. Although the plan covers many medical conditions, injuries and accidents, certain expenses related to pre-existing conditions, preventive check-ups, immunizations and maternity are not covered. Additional benefits cover terrorism, sports & leisure activities, acute onset of pre-existing condition prior to age 70, trip interruption, AD&D, lost luggage and evacuation plus rider. You can get an online quote/ purchase the Patriot International plan online.

  1. StudentSecure Smart:

    StudentSecure is an affordable plan that meets the requirements of many US schools. It is administered by Tokio Marine HCC-MIS Group and underwritten by Lloyds and has an A++ (Superior) rating by A.M. Best. There are 4 levels of coverage- Elite, Select, Budget and Smart. Each of these plans cover eligible medical expenses, emergency medical evacuation and repatriation expenses.

    StudentSecure Smart has a policy maximum of $100,000 per injury/sickness and a deductible of $50 per injury or illness within the PPO network, outside the U.S. or student health center; otherwise $100 per injury or illness. Take a look at the benefits, get quote/ purchase StudentSecure Smart plan online here.

  1. Atlas International:

    Atlas International is administered by Tokio Marine HCC – MIS Group and underwritten by Lloyds. Tokio Marine HCC and holds a financial strength rating of A++ (Superior) by A.M. Best Company. Policy maximum varies from $10,000 to $2,000,000 and deductibles ranging from $0 to $2,500 per certified period.

Certain types of expenses are excluded from coverage under Atlas Travel Insurance. Here’s a look at some of the exclusions:

  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Routine medical examinations
  • Routine pre-natal care, pregnancy, child birth, and post-natal care
  • Medical expenses for injury or illness resulting from participation in specifically excluded extreme sports

Main Organizations Providing College Student Insurance

There are various companies that provide insurance for college students. Let’s take a look at the main players in this space:

Administrators:

These companies design the plans, benefits, premium and exclusions

  1. For the US:
  • Anthem
  • BCBS
  • Aetna United
  1. Outside the US:
  • IMG
  • Seven Corners
  • Tokyo Marine HCC

Underwriters:

These are the insurance companies that pay the claims. Before you choose a plan, it is important to check the A.M. Best rating of these companies to know their financial stability.

  • Sirius International
  • Llyods
  • Anthem

PPO Network:

PPO plan offers a network of healthcare providers who have agreed to provide care at a certain rate. Here’s a look at the PPO network associated with the above plans.

  • Coventry PPO
  • First Health Network
  • United Health

Steps to Use College Student Health Insurance

Now that you know which plan to go with, make sure you know how to use your college student health insurance.

  • First step is to check if the Student Health Center accepts your insurance. If you need further treatment from outside the campus health center, check the list of doctors in the provider network. Make sure to check the hospital and doctor rating before taking an appointment.
  • When you visit the campus health center or the provider, show your medical ID card and also call the number on your card for assistance.
  • After you receive treatment, fill out the claims form and submit it along with the required medical reports. If required, you may have to provide proof of your medical history.

Exclusions

Before using your insurance, it is very important to understand situations that are excluded from coverage. Exclusions generally include:
  • pre-existing conditions
  • pregnancy
  • dependent coverage
  • sports injuries
  • mental disorder
  • substance abuse and
  • dental and vision coverage

However, many insurance companies may have optional coverage which can be added to the policy for an additional cost. Check with the insurance provider to know more about these additional benefits.

Conclusion

College student insurance is a safeguard against unexpected events. The amount of protection it offers makes it a worthwhile expense for college students.

It is very important for college students to save every spare nickel in order to bring down their loan requirement. Researching various coverage options and choosing the best fit will help students get the coverage they need at very low costs. We hope you never have to face any medical emergencies during your golden days in college. But, accidents and injuries are often unexpected, and with student insurance, you can at least have the treatment costs covered!