Most colleges in the US require students to obtain health insurance coverage. College students have to abide by the 'individual mandate' in the ACA program by purchasing health insurance or paying a tax penalty.
It's not only for these reasons that college students should take health insurance seriously. If you happen to experience an illness or accident, health insurance will help to cover your expenses while in college. Without insurance, you could end up with not only student loan debt but expensive medical bills. College students have many options to obtain health coverage. Some of these options are listed below:
If you have aged-out of your parents insurance or such coverage doesn't exist, purchasing an individual policy on the ACA marketplace would be the best option.
You can choose an option that best fits your personal budget. Depending on your income you may be eligible for federal tax credits to help cover the insurance costs.
Listed below are some popular Health Insurance Companies across the country:
- Cigna - Sells medical plans in 11 states.
- UnitedHealth - Sells plans through participating in full risk program offerings in 25 states plus Washington D.C.
- Aetna Group - Aetna's subsidiaries offer coverage in all states.
- Anthem - Serves members in 14 states and specialty plan members in other states.
- Kaiser Permanente - Offers various plans in almost all states.
The Student Secure plan offers coverage for international students inside and outside of the US. Coverage is available on a monthly basis that meets many school and government requirements. Two levels of coverage are available, budget and select. If you are a college student under a J1 and F1 visa, you are automatically eligible for coverage. International students do not require a Social Security Number to obtain health insurance as long as they have the appropriate student visa.
Parent Health Insurance Plans
You can stay on your parent's health plan until your 26th birthday. This applies even if you live away from home, are married or even financially independent. This is wonderful news if you want to stay with your primary health care provider.
Medicaid or Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
If you apply for coverage through the Marketplace you will discover if you qualify for Medicaid or the CHIP program. You can also apply through your state Medicaid agency. If you qualify, coverage starts immediately. Qualification is determined by income and assets. Each state is operated independently with its own rules and coverages.
Before purchasing your health insurance coverage, do your homework and don't wait until the last minute. If you are an international student, review the visa requirements. Check with your college on their specific requirements, for example do you need to sign a waiver form. Obtain a detailed list of your expenses and coverage to ensure you are keeping within your budget.
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