As a parent, you’re aware of how important health insurance is for everyone in your family — whether it’s to patch up a few minor bumps and bruises, or to treat more serious health conditions and mishaps. And now that your student is headed off to college, you know that keeping him or her covered will be more important than ever — so it’s a good idea to start considering health insurance options early on in the college-planning process.
Coverage under your policy
Often times, children are covered under their parents’ insurance up until a certain age. If this is the case with your child, you’ll have to choose whether to keep him or her on your policy, or to arrange for a new, individual plan. Of course, there are a few points to consider when making this decision — mainly, what your insurance provider will allow, as well as which option is the most cost efficient. Ask your provider about a “cut off” age with regard to children being covered under their parents’ policy. Even if your child is eligible to stay under your policy, you might still want to research other options, comparing benefits and costs along the way.
Other forms of student health insurance
While keeping your child covered under your policy is one option, there are a handful of other ways to ensure your student’s health is protected throughout college — one of the most common being university-associated health insurance. Many students and their parents find this option to be both affordable and suitable for covering the basic health needs of the average college student. However, for more flexibility and greater policy options, you might consider arranging an individual, private policy for your student. You could also explore government-sponsored insurance options, as well as insurance cover extended through employers (if your student happens to be employed). Reviewing all the coverage options available will ensure your child gets the health protection he or she needs while in college.
Inform your student
For many students, college will be the first time they deal with health insurance themselves — so it’s important to give them a little guidance with regard to the ins and outs of cover. Regardless of whether your child will remain covered under your policy or gain coverage through their own policy, he or she should be familiar with some basic processes — for example, what type of care he or she is eligible for (medical, dental, vision, etc.), where the nearest eligible providers are, any deductibles applied for office visits or prescriptions, and any changes in coverage between active semesters and breaks (such as in the summer). Perhaps your child will be partially or fully responsible for the cost of his or her policy — in which case, it’s a good idea to review premiums, payment schedules, and the importance of making payments on time. The more your student knows with regard to his or her cover, the better informed his or her health-related decisions can be.
Students can also refer to our student guide to health insurance for more information.