College student health insurance plans

An inside look at college student health insurance plans

WRITTEN BY: Janelle Vreeland
College student health insurance plans

Your acceptance letters are in, decisions are being made and financial questions are being answered as you get ready to go off to college in the upcoming fall semester. You probably haven’t given much thought on what you’ll do for health insurance, but choosing a student health insurance plan is one of the most vital decisions you can make during your college career.

What if you became very sick or injured and are not covered by student health insurance to help pay for the thousands of dollars in medical bills? You'll find yourself buried by debt that could've been prevented if you had just invested in student health insurance.

Many people will recommend to college students that sticking with the student health insurance covered by his/her parents is the best option. Yet, a variety of universities beg to differ.

Erin Deeds, staff member of University of Cincinnati, believes signing up for their institution's student health insurance is the best plan for students.

“I believe that enrolling under the [student health insurance plan] is a wise choice for a student as it provides immediate access to primary care at no cost to the student and that otherwise is rarely, or not at all, available through an individual or employer based policy,” Deeds said. “There is no co-payment or co-insurance for primary care and prescriptions are from $10 to $30 for generic or brand name medications respectively. Walk-in primary care service is not available under other plans. Our primary concern is providing easy access to healthcare so the student can resume a regular schedule as quickly as possible.”

Although enrolling in a college student health insurance plan within your university is a bright idea, you should be aware of whether or not you are getting your money’s worth. Not all universities are the same pertaining to cost and what exactly the student health insurance plan covers, so always check this information before making a final decision.

When you do decide to apply for your college student health insurance plan most universities require you to be registered for a certain amount of credit hours per semester. If you are signed up for enough courses, you may then complete a student health insurance enrollment form and submit it before the current quarter’s enrollment deadline.

Typically, if someone applies for student health insurance through their school in the spring, they are covered over the summer as well at no additional cost. Also, pre-existing conditions are normally covered, and if you are traveling across country you are still covered by your school’s plan.

As you can see, there are many benefits when you sign up for a student health insurance plan through your college. Carole Balli, Benefits Services Supervisor at Northern Illinois University, suggests looking into your university’s student health insurance plan even if you are already covered.

“Not all insurances work everywhere,” Balli said. “In DeKalb County, HMO’s usually do not work except in an emergency situation.  Students with a high deductible plan should consider keeping ours because the NIU plan coordinates benefits giving the student just about 100 percent health coverage.”

Balli recommends that students consider all their options before sticking to a plan.

“It is a good idea to shop around, but check to see what you are getting for your money!  Check the benefits and the out of pocket costs.  You should choose a plan that’s in your budget and gives you the best benefits,” she said.

As we all know, a little research can go a long way, and this is especially true when it comes to student health insurance plans.

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