insurance

6 health insurance options for college students

Purchase 'catastrophic' coverage
Purchase 'catastrophic' coverage © Casper1774 Studio/Shutterstock.com

In the exchanges, Americans under 30 have the option of purchasing "catastrophic" health plans with lower premiums and high deductibles.

"This will be very attractive to the young population," Haubenreiser says.

While initial preventive care visits are covered at no charge, these plans come with deductibles of more than $6,000. Haubenreiser worries that one serious accident or unexpected disease diagnosis could lead to a real out-of-pocket hardship for a student.

"Six-thousand dollars can derail a student's career pretty quickly," she says.

She also fears that students with high deductibles may be reluctant to go to the doctor. "They won't get the care, and they'll wait until they are really sick." 

Before springing for catastrophic coverage, Mishory suggests comparing the plans with more comprehensive exchange policies that may offer you a discount.

"You cannot use tax credits to buy catastrophic plans," she says. "So, if you are low or moderate income, you definitely want to check to see whether you quality for monthly tax credits to reduce your premiums."

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