Health Insurance

I definitely want to continue my education and I am working part-time on top of taking classes to avoid as much debt as I can. My parents are very generous and they let me live with them, but after I turn 26 I will need to find a way to provide for my own insurance. Is there a good way to juggle all of this at once? What do I need to do to both stay insured and go to school?

Health insurance is undeniably important to having access to affordable healthcare. Unfortunately, the process for getting health insurance for nonstandard students can be difficult if you don’t know what to look for; perhaps you aren’t a full-time student or you don’t work a full-time job all the time, and the more traditional methods of getting health insurance aren’t available. Even if you do not have the luxury of being included in a parental health insurance policy, you still have a few options when trying to get health insurance.

If you need a health insurance policy that is associated with the college you are attending, you need to consult the appropriate counselor at your university to discuss the issue in detail. You should first make sure you are following the process that is appropriate for your situation. This changes depending on if you are included in your parent’s health insurance policy if you are in the same state or place of residence as your parents, and if you are claimed as a dependent. The upside to not being a dependant in this scenario is that it is your income that is considered when deciding upon an appropriate health insurance policy and not your parents.       

There are insurance options to consider if your long term plans do not quite line up as well as you’d like. Short term insurance policies aren’t always cheaper than long term ones, but there are few other options when you need a health insurance policy for less than a year. Given the number of expenses that can accrue with health insurance plans, such as the copay or coinsurance costs that accompany treatment that is covered by the insurance, keeping a healthy savings account is ideal as a backup plan. A policy that includes short term health insurance for college students is not out of the question but it still requires a detailed understanding of your specific situation.

Worth noting is that The Affordable Care Act (commonly known as “Obamacare”) requires citizens of the United States of America to buy health insurance. This is the specific act that requires insurance companies to cover you under your parents' insurance until you are 26. One upside for nontraditional college students, though, is that if your income is low enough you might qualify for Medicaid. Many college students, a demographic that usually has relatively little income, also qualify for health insurance subsidies that will help reduce the cost of a health insurance plan. Again, it is important to research as much as you can on this topic, which includes talking to the relevant college faculty members and consulting the proper legal documentation both online and offline, so you know what to expect so you do not pay more than you have to for the coverage you want.

College students have a lot on their plates, both financially and intellectually. Many college students are employed, and they have to juggle their jobs with paying for various expenses levied by insurance companies, paid study tools like CCNA exams, and collegiate institutions. Proceeding from where you stand now requires research, being honest with yourself about how much money you need, and lots of effort.

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