As the end of August approaches, students are readying themselves for the upcoming academic year. Parents may be faced with the largest educational expense that they have ever seen. There also may be a line item that is unfamiliar to parents: a college health care plan.
Most colleges offer health insurance to its students that can be a very attractive alternative, especially if parents aren’t covered by an employer sponsored plan. The premiums are usually more reasonable than those associated with the individual health care marketplace. Before enrolling a student in a health care plan, though, be sure to consider the following:
- The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act allows children to remain covered by a parent’s employer sponsored health insurance until age 26. Many insurance companies have already adopted this amendment, but if not, will be required to add it by September 23rd, 2010. Keep in mind, however, that if a student plans to work full time and health insurance is an employee benefit that is available, no health care can be accessed through a parent’s plan.
- College and university plans may have very restrictive coverage limitations. Students may be required to use specific medical facilities near the school in order to use the plan benefits. Often there is no charge for an office visit to an on campus health center, but lab work and other tests may not be covered. Check the plan to understand the treatment options.
- Depending upon state law, a college plan can refuse to include a pre existing condition in their health insurance benefit. In addition, the definition of a pre existing conditions varies from state to state. Verify the criteria for a pre existing condition before signing up.
- Parents may also register a child for a college health plan if their own plans require doctor referrals for care. It can be difficult to obtain referrals across state lines. To ensure that a child who attends an out-of-state university receives prompt care, many parents also elect to use the school plan.
- If a student plays an intercollegiate sport, the NCAA requires that all student athletes have health insurance before joining a team. Coverage varies from school to school, so it is important to establish the appropriate coverage.
It’s likely that there are far more important issues for a college age adult than health insurance. An illness or injury, however, can be devastating to a family.
For additional information, contact us.