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.