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Student Health Insurance 101
From playing ultimate Frisbee in the rain to pulling all-nighters hopped up on nothing but a 12-pack of energy drinks, college students don't always make the right decisions when it comes to their health. And breaking an arm during a mud-wrestling match can wipe out a student's entire savings if he doesn't have health insurance. That's why it's important to make sure your student has the proper coverage – whether it's under your policy or their own – before heading off for college.
While most college students are covered under a parent's health insurance policy, there are restrictions that apply once a student leaves the nest. For instance, some policies include territorial limitations that restrict coverage to the U.S. That means students studying or traveling abroad may need additional coverage.
Health insurance policies also used to include age and enrollment requirements but the new health care reform law allows children who are 26 years old or younger to remain on their parent's policy -- even if they're not enrolled in college. An additional fee may apply, though. Students who don't meet the requirements for coverage under a parent's policy can get their own health insurance and should contact a Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent for more information on coverage and policies.
College-bound students and their parents also need to be aware of some common misconceptions when it comes to health insurance and college. One of the biggest misunderstandings is that a college's fee for student health insurance is a substitute for a full-coverage policy. Typically, this fee only covers visits to the student health center, so it's important for students to have their own insurance or coverage under their parent's policy. Some schools will waive or reduce this fee with evidence that a student is covered by their own insurance or a parent's policy.
There can also be confusion about whether a college's medical insurance covers injuries a student might sustain while playing a college sport. This varies by school and insurance policy, so be sure to contact the college to find out whose health insurance policy is responsible for covering a student athlete in the event of a serious injury.
Going away to college can be a chaotic and exciting time for students, which is why it's important to talk to your Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent now if you have questions about your insurance policy, what it covers, or if your student needs additional coverage. Don't wait until you get a call from the hospital saying your son broke his wrist during a game of ping-pong gone wrong to find out if that cast is covered.