Can a person survive on ramen noodles alone? Many a student has proven that, yes, it can be done. But it is not an experience to be savored.
Why, then, do so many college and university students rely on a diet that consists of the long, curly noodle, alone? Simply put, college life is expensive. Tuition, books, a roof over your head, and clothes on your back do not come cheaply. Factor in the cost of health insurance and, yikes, you’ve cleaned out your bank account. You know that you need health insurance coverage–especially after an extended diet of starch and MSG–but finding the cheapest premium is a must. Particularly if you’d like to eat something green once in a while.
Beginning of September. Freshman Year.
There is good news, however. Don’t give up on those broccoli-riddled dreams. You can secure health insurance without forfeiting your grocery money.
Under the Affordable Care Act, children can remain on their parents’ health insurance plan until their 26th birthday–even if they are in school. For many students, that has proven to be the most affordable choice. The viability of this option, of course, depends on how much it costs for your parents to have dependant coverage.
Plus, as “Student Health Insurance: Options for Coverage” warns, if your parents’ coverage is a “health maintenance organization (HMO)” or a “preferred provider organization (PPO),” you may not have coverage outside of the area in which they reside. You will need to ensure that you will be able to receive covered care in your college town before choosing this option.
According to a report released by the ASPE Office of Health Policy, “1 million uninsured single young adults may be eligible for Medicaid in the 34 states included in their analysis [and] if each of the 34 states expanded its Medicaid program, 4.9 million uninsured single young adults would be eligible.” It only makes sense to see if you are one of the millions now eligible–particularly if your family has an income of up to 133% of the federal poverty level, is financially overwhelmed by large medical expenses, or if you have a disability. If you’d like to find out more about Medicaid in your state, visit “State Medicaid and CHIP profiles” to learn more.
Odds are that your college or university offers an affordable health insurance plan to its students. Check with your admissions office to learn about the costs and coverage. You may find this a very attractive option.
Plans currently being issued must meet the Affordable Care Act’s standards, which means that you cannot be excluded for a pre-existing condition and you will not be subject to a yearly or lifetime limit.
And, according to USA Today‘s “Student Health Plans Forced to Adapt to ACA Requirements,” an additional benefit is that, unlike policies on the health insurance exchanges “where the young and the healthy pay to subsidize the old and the sick, student health plans exist within their own risk pool, allowing for lower costs.”
Another option is the catastrophic plan. These boast lower monthly premiums than more traditional plans, but it is important to note that deductibles are very high–sometimes several thousand dollars. “What Does Student Health Insurance Cover?” adds that they do cover regular exams and tests as preventative care is required from all health insurance plans under current laws.
End of September. Freshman year.
By exploring all of your health insurance options, you will be better able to save yourself some much needed money. And add a few veggies to your diet.
Which health insurance option proved to be the best for you? Why?
Kimberley Laws is a regular contributor to HowDoYou.com and the author of two blogs, The Embiggens Project and Searching for Barry Weiss. A "Jill of all trades," she is a High School English Teacher and Certified Career Counselor with a background in makeup artistry, retail banking, and graphic design. She is also a scrapbooking, PEZ-collecting, car enthusiast who loves travelling and New York City.
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