Category Archives: Updates

Choosing a Plan

The most asked question: Should I stay on my parents plan or use the plan offered by the school. The short answer: Stay on your parents’ plan if you can.  Typically, your parents’ plan will have very good coverage and benefits without costing anything more.  If you purchase a school plan, you will have to pay extra.  This is not always the case so review the two options with your parents and decide which plan offers the best coverage for the best price.  Other typical questions…

Is health insurance really a priority? Yes! Accidents can’t be planned for. There will be medical expenses during your period of study; even those related to treating basic illnesses can cost in the hundreds of dollars. You do not want to be broadsided with a medical situation or emergency for which you do not have financial coverage.

OK, if I need insurance, what is the deal? Generally, if you are under the age of 26, you may be able to stay on your parents’ plan. That’s a good option if you have a pre-existing medical condition or will be attending graduate school in the same state in which your parents live.

You may also purchase an individual plan on your own from either your school or an insurance company. Your benefits, coverage and costs will vary from state to state. Depending on where you will be enrolled, you may have some pretty affordable options, especially if you are younger and healthy. Check with a local insurance agent to explore your choices.

There are some individually purchased health plans specifically designed for students. Some of these plans provide good benefits and flexibility that might come in handy if you will be traveling between two states.

New international students – those who hold an F-1 or J-1 United States visa – are generally required to purchase international student health insurance. In most instances this is nonnegotiable. Review and compare your options to find the best product for your needs.

What basic coverages should be included? You should find a plan providing minimum coverage per year (at least $500,000) and with a low annual deductible (the out of pocket amount you pay each year for services before your insurance plan starts to cover expenses).

Typical plans offer coverage for inpatient and outpatient services anywhere in the U.S. as well as overage for inpatient and outpatient mental health services, physical therapy and prescription drugs.  If you need additional coverages, shop around – there are several providers where you can pay a premium for additional benefits should you need them.

Are there other issues I should be aware of? Make sure you determine when your plan starts and if you are covered over the summer. If you are not on campus, can you get treatment elsewhere? What happens after your studies end of you you switch schools?

You may have other questions,  Feel free to post them below and we will do our best to answer them quickly.

Remember your Vaccinations

Vaccines are good protection even after you have graduated from high school. Vaccines are needed throughout your adult life as well to help you stay healthy. Over time, immunity from childhood vaccines can wear off and you may also be at risk for vaccine-preventable diseases due to your job, hobbies, travel, or chronic health condition.

recently, the office of Student Health at Vanderbilt University sent an email to graduate and professional students “to remind them of the importance of chickenpox vaccinations in light of three confirmed cases in the past six weeks. The email provided information about chickenpox and recommended that the students receiving the email look into their chickenpox history.”

According to Matt Bumbalough, manager of Patient Care Services at Student Health, only upperclass and graduate/professional students received the message “since some students in this age range may not be completely vaccinated because of the timing of the vaccine recommendations during these students’ childhoods.”

According to the CDC, these vaccines are recommended for adults ages 19-26:

  • Seasonal flu vaccine which protects against influenza. (for all adults every year)
  • Td vaccine, which protects against tetanus. (for all adults every 10 years)
  • Tdap vaccine which protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (also known as whooping cough). (for all adults once instead of Td vaccine)
  • HPV vaccine which protects against the human papillomaviruses that cause most cervical cancers, anal cancer, and genital warts. (for women up to age 26 years and men up to age 21 years; men 22-26 may also need HPV vaccine based on other risk factors)