Students remaining on their parent’s plan can easily check which doctors are covered near their school by calling the number on the back of their medical ID card or going onto the insurer’s website. For those not covered by their parents, Garrison recommends they “check to see if the university or college that the student is attending offers a medical plan.”
These plans are available at most large universities and are typically offered on a semester-to-semester basis. For in-depth information, contact the college your student is enrolled in or check their website. Usually, there’s an online platform that outlines different plans that the college offers along with pricing. Colleges that do not offer medical plan insurance may have an on-staff nurse that is available to take care of minor ailments, such as the common cold.
Other options available to college students are temporary or short-term medical policies. These are usually on a year-to-year basis and tend to be less expensive; however they do not pay for pre-existing conditions. Garrison warns consumers to be careful with these because if a health issue crops up during the year, when it’s time to get the policy renewed it will no longer cover that issue.
Major medical plans are also good options for students as they provide comprehensive benefits while being more affordable than other options on the market. These plans also have different tiers so students can pick and choose which plan would be best for them based on their needs.
Most healthcare plans have open enrollment periods via the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that run from November 1 to December 15 and start January 1. Though, students may qualify for special election under certain circumstances, such as aging out of their parent’s insurance once they turn 26.
One big mistake Garrison says consumers make regarding health insurance is not taking the time to research what they’re buying. He cautions everyone to always be wary of online medical platforms. While healthcare.gov has ACA approved medical plans, there are numerous limited benefit plans out there that market to uninformed consumers. These plans generally cover very little, but seem attractive due to their inexpensive nature. Be sure to read any and all documents sent to you regarding those plans because they will be required to say if they don’t meet the requirements of ACA. If the company does not outline the coverage provided, that is a major red flag and you should stay away.
In order to make sure you are making the best decision, take the time to read through everything and do your research. You can also contact your insurance provider to receive details specific to your coverage. Your agent can answer any questions you may have and figure out the best solution for you.