A growing number of schools are requiring students to carry health insurance as a condition of enrollment. Even if your school does not require coverage, purchasing a policy may prove to be a smart move. If you have an accident or come down with a serious illness, the medical bills you incur could force your to drop out of school. Fortunately, there are many different ways for students to save money on health insurance coverage. Here are several that every student should explore.
Stay On Your Parent’s Plan
Recent healthcare reform allows dependents to stay on their parents’ health plan until the age of 26. If your parents are agreeable, this is almost always the best and cheapest way to go. You can’t be excluded because of a pre-existing condition and you get the opportunity to retain the same comprehensive coverage you’ve always had.
Look Into School-Sponsored Insurance
More than half of all U.S. colleges and universities have special contracts with insurance providers so that students can buy low-cost health insurance. Your school’s admissions office will be able to tell you if a school-sponsored plan exists and what coverage options may be available to you. Choices can range from accident and emergency coverage to comprehensive care coverage.
Apply for Government-Sponsored Plans
The federal government offers an insurance plan known as Medicaid to citizens who cannot afford to pay for insurance or medical care. You must meet certain eligibility requirements to qualify for Medicaid coverage. Requirements can vary from state to state. You can check your eligibility status by contacting your local Medicaid office or your state’s insurance department.
Research Individual Health Plans
If you cannot stay on your parents’ plan, qualify for a government plan, or get school-sponsored insurance, you may have to purchase your own individual health policy through a private insurance company. Policy cost can vary depending on the company you buy from as well as the coverage you choose. To get the best deal, you’ll need to take time to get quotes from multiple companies and compare coverage options. Your best bet may be to buy from a company that specializes in student health insurance.
Consider Group Insurance
Group insurance plans frequently offer reduced insurance rates. You may already belong to an association or organization that provides group insurance plans. If you don’t, you could make an effort to join a group that offers low-cost insurance deals to members.
Look Into Short-Term Health Insurance
If you are a recent graduate, between jobs, or just need coverage for a short period of time, you may want to consider a short-term health insurance policy. These policies provide coverage for a limited amount of time, such as 30 days or 12 months. Coverage is usually relatively affordable and almost always kicks in as soon as you buy the policy.
Consider a High Deductible
Raising your deductible is a good way to lower your monthly or annual insurance premium. The higher your deductible is, the lower your premium will be. If you do decide to raise your deductible, just make sure that you have enough money on hand to cover the increased out-of-pocket costs.
Use Your Student Health Center
Taking advantage of an on-campus student health center can help you save on insurance co-pays. Many student health centers offer a range of services, including regular check-ups, disease testing, vaccinations, x-rays, and emergency treatment. The cost to use the student health center may already be included in your tuition. If it is not, you may be able to gain access by paying a small annual fee.
Take Care of Yourself
If you eat right, get a good amount of sleep, exercise, and take care of yourself, you will do a lot to reduce your overall healthcare costs. And if you don’t have to use your insurance, you may also be able to keep your rates low.
Guest post from Bailey Harris.