Sign up for a health plan at your school
Many colleges offer their own health plans to students. A college may work with an insurance company, which pays any claims. Or, plans may be self-insured by the school, which makes the payouts directly.
College health plans have a major advantage over other health insurance options because the premium costs are grouped with other higher education expenses, such as tuition and room and board, Haubenreiser says. "So, your student loans can assist with that."
These plans often appeal to older students no longer eligible to remain on their parents' health insurance, she says.
"These plans will also cover services that are often needed by young women for their reproductive health," adds Fish-Parcham.
But school plans may not always be the best option for students.
"These plans may have much more limited coverage than other individual insurance," Fish-Parcham says. For example, they may not pay for injuries to a student who got hurt while intoxicated.
She urges students and parents to examine student health plans carefully because there may be yearly limits on claims or doctor visits.
Things should improve in 2014, when these plans must drop annual coverage dollar limits to comply with Obamacare, Fish-Parcham says.