While it seems are numerous alternatives, there are only three basic types of student health insurance policies. Medical expenses while in college can be covered by their parents health plan, the college health plan or some commercial student health plan. All of them have their own strong points as well as weaknesses, so choosing the right policy between them (or finding their right combination) can get quite difficult.
Before you start going into the details, remember why you need the health insurance in the first place. Whatever you choose, make sure your children will (1) have access to medical care both while at the college and at home, (2) be insured against any sport-related injuries, (3) have at least basic eye and dental care secured and that (4) you will be able to take unexpected catastrophic medical expenses without going bankrupt. Below are short descriptions of the major student insurance categories. Keep in mind though that the specific offers within the same category can vary greatly.
Parents health plan Advantages: A college student can be covered as a dependant by his/her parents health plan. There are three strong points with this plan no enrollment action is required, it is inexpensive and the parents health plan usually gives a student relatively good coverage at home. What's more, there is no problem in treating preexistent health problems.
Disadvantages: However, parents health plan isn't an ideal solution. Unless a student studies near his/her home, it is very probable that the access to medical facilities will be limited or none at all. What's worse, student health insurance acquired via the parents health plan often ends when the student reaches 21 or 23, even if they haven't graduated yet. And, last but not least, the parents policy doesn't usually offer any coverage outside of the U.S.
College health plan Advantages: Most colleges offer their own, campus-based student health insurance programs. They offer excellent on-campus access to routine health care and give enrolled students a chance to receive a limited treatment of preexisting health problems. Another strong point is their low price.
Disadvantages: All the pros come with some cons as well: these health plans offer very limited (if any) access to medical care outside the campus. The referral is required for every major treatment and, what's the worst, student health insurance policies prepared by the college have limited maximum coverage, making them inadequate for coping with any catastrophic medical expenses.
Commercial student health plan Advantages: These plans are probably the best in terms of maximum coverage and medical care accessibility. They offer nation-wide coverage with virtually every medical provider becoming available. They are also the most flexible the payment can de done on month-to-month (or even day-to-day) basis, but without a fear that they end while you'll still need them.
Disadvantages: The major disadvantage of commercial student health insurance policies is their price. Actually, they can get extremely expensive. Another problem is that most of them do not cover eye or dental care, which normally would be covered by the parents health plan.
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