Students have budgeted for tuition, housing, and food costs. Another item students need to consider is health insurance
Most students don’t include insurance in any of their budgeting plans for college, but it is actually a very important item to be considered. Statistics show that about 30% of young adults don’t have insurance coverage. This makes them vulnerable if they have medical needs and start racking up medical bills. This can lead to debt and ruining their credit early.
Sometimes students are on their parents’ health plan. If they are, they have the option to stay on it until they turn 26 years of age. This is definitely a good option if they are paying the premiums. However, if the student is going away to school in another state, the premiums may change since the doctor they will see in college may not be in network. Some of the expenses like basic office visits or medical exams may not be covered. This means they will be paying more money out-of-pocket if they get sick.
Alternatively, they can get health insurance through the college they are attending. Many colleges require health insurance. Students can sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Since their income may be on the low side, they may qualify for a premium tax credit, which can lower their monthly premium and make it more affordable.
Having insurance makes smart health and financial sense. Students should research the options and make the best decision for their situation. Continuous coverage is important to prevent lapse in care for any medical conditions or medications they require. Some students can qualify for subsidies to offset their monthly premiums. Some insurance companies offer free preventative care and low-cost virtual care. Students should take a little time to investigate, and make sure this monthly expense is included in their college budget.