Study your health insurance options

laptop and stethoscope College is one of the best times of a person’s life. They’re finally on their own and in charge of their own schedule, living life away from the care of their parents. Not to mention, most college students have relatively low bills and very few responsibilities outside of school. Unfortunately, many students either forget about health insurance altogether or choose not to have it. This is a mistake they can’t afford to make. A survey conducted across three California campuses in 2013 found that a whopping 30 percent of college students are uninsured. While college students tend to think they’re invincible, going uninsured is never a good idea, even if they’re young, healthy and in good shape. With Obamacare in place, those without insurance are subject to a fine when they do their taxes each year. Also, people can qualify for government subsidies to help pay their monthly premiums. Since college students typically have very low income, they will more than likely qualify for at least some amount of a subsidy. According to the article “5 Reasons it’s vital to have health insurance”, there are multiple reasons you should have insurance, including protecting yourself financially (medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy in the U.S.), reducing your paperwork, guaranteeing some level of care, making it cheaper to take care of yourself and helping cover prescription drug costs. Simply put, college students can’t afford not to have health insurance.

 How can college students get health insurance?

Luckily, there are many ways college students can go about getting health insurance. A simple online search of “health insurance options for college students” will yield dozens of results. Options include:
  • Stay on a parent’s plan: College students can now stay on a parent’s plan until the age of 26, regardless of marital status, income level or whether or not they are a student.
  • Seek private health insurance: For college students with little to no income, a private plan is not a bad option. Most likely, the student will qualify for a large subsidy towards their premiums, making their monthly payment extremely affordable.
  • Look into the college’s plan: Now, most colleges and universities offer student health care plans that can be wrapped into the student’s loans. The student won’t have to worry about paying the bill each month now, but rather will take care of it once they start paying their student loans back.
  • Purchase catastrophic health care coverage: Catastrophic coverage covers the individual in case of an emergency. The plans are appealing to young, healthy students because of the low monthly payments. They do have high deductibles, though, so it’s recommended to have that amount in savings in case an emergency does occur.
As you can see, there are many options available to college students when it comes to health insurance. The important thing, though, is to not risk going uninsured. While it may seem like the easy thing to do, if an accident were to occur you will be extremely thankful that you chose to purchase health insurance.   About the Author: Sarah Brooks is a freelance writer living in Charlotte, NC. New to the city, she enjoys spending time outdoors and exploring the area. She writes on a variety of topics including health insurance, small businesses and personal finance.