6 health insurance options for college students

Stay on your parents' plan
Stay on your parents' plan © Goodluz/

Thanks to health care reform, students under the age of 26 can remain on their parents' health insurance.

College life can add a few wrinkles to this Obamacare provision, however. For example, if a student is going to school in a different state, it's important to contact the insurance company to make sure there will be in-network providers near campus.

Large insurers often do have affiliated networks in other states, but parents need to check with their particular plan, says Cheryl Fish-Parcham, deputy director of health policy for the health care consumer group Families USA.

"Students might also want to schedule routine preventive care visits while they are at home on vacation in order to have access to the network of their parents' plan," she says.

Plus, parents and students should find out how the insurer will reimburse emergency care claims in the college town.

The possible absence of in-network coverage can create extra expenses for students and force them into making difficult choices, Haubenreiser says.

"If something comes up and they have to leave to get care for a longer-term illness, that will essentially take them out of school," she says.


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