The cheapest student health insurance may be the health plan available from your college or university. However, this cheap insurance may not be the best coverage.
Employer sponsored coverage or standard individual medical and hospitalization insurance policies purchased from will often provide much better coverage. This is the case for two basic reasons.
Policies marketed to students often have substandard benefits. They often will not fully cover a major illness.
Coverage from these policies terminates when a student is no longer a student or when he or she reaches a certain age. If the student is currently sick or injured when the coverage terminates he or she might have a hard time finding coverage.
Often the best option is a policy that the student purchases from a company like Blue Cross or Humana without going through the school. These policies, although not usually the cheapest, are often very inexpensive. This is because most students are very young and are usually very healthy.
One of the changes that occurred in 2010 due to the Health Care Reform bill allows a child to stay on his or her parents’ or parent’s policy until they reach the age of 26. These group and individual private medical insurance policies that are not specifically designed for students are ironically the best options for students in most cases.
Of course, if a parent has a substandard policy this will not be a good option for the child. For this reason, a blanket statement cannot be made that this is always the best option.
Also, sometimes the policy that the parent or parents has can be overpriced even if it is good coverage. This is often true when a child is the second person insured on the policy. Some policies rate the second person as if he or she was a spouse and therefore a younger person does not get the lower rate the he or she would get on a separate policy.
Before making a decision about a student policy it is important to know how much the policy will cover in the event of a catastrophic event. You should also know the exclusions and limitations of the policy.
Very often a medical insurance policy that you purchase from a standard carrier will give you a better deal than the cheapest student insurance you might purchase through a college or university.
Many insurance policies marketed to students and their parents have several flaws. Student health insurance plans often have limited annual benefits, limited lifetime benefits and may not protect future insurability.
Policies marketed to students are often very cheap both in price and in value. However, since most students are young their rates are low with most companies, not just the ones marketing bare bones health insurance policies to students. Purchasing a regular health insurance policy to provide student insurance for your child can mean that you get much better coverage at about the same price.
More info on student health insurance below video
Many health insurance plans marketed to college undergrad and graduate students will have limited benefits. Typically you will find that the maximum amount that they will pay in a year is limited. You will probably also find that the maximum amount that they will pay in a student’s lifetime is limited as well.
Many of us have never had a major hospital bill. Many who have, haven’t bothered to look too closely at the hospital bill because most of was covered by our insurance policies. This lack of information can lead us to believe that the $100,000 annual benefit limit on many student health insurance plans is more than adequate.
It is not for many students. This can leave a student who thought they were well covered weighed down with a major debt for a long period of time. Many unfortunate students wind of walking away from college with an albatross instead of a degree.
In addition to annual benefit limits, most student medical insurance policies will have low lifetime limits as well. Although most policies have lifetime benefit limits, the poor-quality policies marketed as “student health insurance plans” usually have benefits limits of one million dollars or lower. You may be able to find affordable coverage for a person in their 20s on a standard health insurance policy with a benefit limit of $5 million. Many policies have no benefit limit.
If a desire to have an adequate annual benefit limit and an adequate lifetime benefit isn’t enough to impel you to look at other options, there is another issue. The typical student health insurance policy sold through a university will not protect your student’s future insurability.
Your child could develop a major illness or have a major accident while covered by the university’s policy. Even if the policy covers the expenses he or she had while covered by the policy, you child could still be left with a problem. Your child could be left with a preexisting condition.
The preexisting condition could impact your child’s ability to get coverage long after they graduate. Health insurance may not be available to him or her after their eligibility for the student health insurance policy expires.
Many parents never investigate purchasing health insurance for their student through a standard policy. This is often because they believe that these policies are more expensive than they are. Health insurance companies will typically offer these policies at a very low rate to younger people whether they are students or not.
For a comparable price, you should be able to find a much better policy if you don’t limit your search to the policies sold by the school. You should be able to find policies with robust lifetime benefit limits and no separate annual benefit limits. With most plans your student will have the option of keeping the policy until they are eligible for Medicare.
When looking at options to insure your student, be sure to read the literature carefully. Many student health insurance policies will have “Limited Benefit Policy” in bold print on their brochures. There is a reason this verbiage is there. Be sure to look at other options, you may be surprised that for the same, or slightly more money, you can purchase health insurance for your student from a major carrier with much better benefits.
Finding HMO, PPO or major medical health insurance for college students involves the same thought process as finding health insurance for other family members with one difference. If the student to be insured attends school a significant distance from home, you will want to be sure that the insurance policy’s network of doctors and hospitals will serve him or her well both at school and at home.
Steps Involved in Finding Cheap Student Health Insurance:
Make a List of reputable Medical Insurance Companies
That serves the student’s home area
That serves the student’s college area
Check for Complaints with Your Insurance Department
Compare Policy Benefits
Compare Policy Prices
Make a List of Reputable Medical Insurance Companies
State insurance departments will have a list of insurance companies that are approved and that serve the various geographic areas of the state. Consulting with this list will limit your search to more reputable companies. Although an insurance company can be approved by a Dept. of Insurance and still offer substandard policies, you have a better chance of finding a quality medical insurance policy if you begin with this step.
Check for Complaints with Your Insurance Department
Any health insurance company that insurance a significant volume of policyholders will have complaints. The ratio of complaints when compared to their number of policyholders is what you should look at. If their ratio is significantly higher than their competitors, you should cross them off your list. Medical insurance companies with too many complaints are less likely to pay your claims.
Even if many of the complaints are not justified, it can mean that the policy provisions are misleading. An insurance company may pay all of the claims it is legally obligated to pay and have many complaints because their insurance policies cover less than what their policy holders expect. So even unjustified complaints should be noted.
Compare Policy Benefits
Look at not just the deductible, co-pays and coinsurance; also look at the annual caps and lifetime caps on the various benefits. A policy with low co-pays but an unreasonable limit on the amount they will pay in a year for medical care could leave you holding the bag for tens of thousands of dollars. You should also make sure that the limitation on prescription benefits is reasonable. Maternity insurance should also be investigated. Most policies will not cover this benefit and it is costly. However, believing that pregnancy expenses are covered when they are not can be costly.
Compare Policy Prices
Whether you are looking for a student health insurance plan in Boston or a student health insurance plan in Memphis, price will matter. Finding a cheap student health insurance plan is important, but only when you have eliminated the plans that will not serve you well because of lower benefits or a network of providers that does not cover the geographic areas important to you.
Student Health Insurance
Finding the right plan doesn’t have to be difficult. However, getting competitive quotes from reputable companies, making sure that the network of providers will meet your needs and that the number of complaints against the companies you consider is reasonable will all help you find the right major medical, HMO, PPO or other insurance plan.