Students and Insurance

Mark Sampson of Wealthy Geek sent me an email challenge to write about students and insurance.

Well, as a student of culture, all I can say is: all roads lead to insurance!

Humour aside, one of the repeatedly cited problems that most students face is a lack of health insurance. While everyone budgets for tuition and food and rent and transportation, very few have any money left over to pay for health insurance. Fortunately, a parent's health insurance will often cover the student, and the parent is usually willing to pay for that coverage.

This doesn't solve every problem. According to an NAIC Consumer Alert, students who are covered under their parent's HMO or PPO plans may find that they live completely outside of the insurance coverage area if they are living away from home. This can mean that they are only entitled to emergency care locally, and must travel back to the network to get any other kind of care.

A student pursuing advanced degrees may face other challenges. Once a student reaches the age of 23 to 25, most health insurance through a parent will be terminated. At the same time, a student may not be finished his or her studies. This leaves the student to find insurance personally.

Colleges and universities have recognized this problem and stepped into the gap. Many  now have group health insurance plans through which students can purchase health insurance. In most cases, this will be much more cost effective than an individual plan. At the same time, these plans are often more limited in coverage and may exclude things like routine dental or eye care. It's also important to note that these plans often exclude injuries related to alcohol or drugs. There is often a ceiling on benefits.

Regardless, this coverage is essential. A serious accident or illness could leave a student bankrupt. The debt acquired by a student while getting an education can be substantial enough. Adding the cost of a serious medical problem could be staggering.

If you are a parent or a student who is looking into health insurance, many of our site sponsors offer student health coverage. It's worth a bit of research to make sure that you are properly covered.

Monique L. Attinger
Posted by Insurance Leads on May 14,2007 at 4:27 PM

As a 25 year old who was recently in school, I can confirm that the group plans offered by schools are useless.  I think it's probably a better choice to get catastrophic insurance and pay medical costs out of pocket.  Students rarely have high recurring medical bills, and the catastrophic insurance will save them from bankrupcy in the event of an extreme problem.

Posted by SimpleHealthQuote on February 7,2007 at 8:43 PM
It is important for students to get their own coverage as soon as possible because their coverage through their parents will cancel at around 25 years old.
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