insurance

6 health insurance options for college students

Apply for health insurance through Medicaid
Apply for health insurance through Medicaid

Students from low-income families may be able to apply for coverage through Medicaid, the federal-state program providing health insurance to poor Americans.

In the past, Medicaid coverage was limited to narrow populations, including children and pregnant women. As part of health insurance reform, states now have the option of expanding Medicaid eligibility.

Students under 65 years of age in participating states may enroll if they earn up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level.

"If you are a dependent on your parents' tax return, your eligibility will depend on your (family's) household income," Mishory says.

However, many students do not have Medicaid as an option, says Robin Gelburd, president of FAIR Health, a nonprofit focused on providing information about health insurance and health care costs.

"Only half the states are choosing to expand their Medicaid programs," Gelburd says.

Coverage is available nationwide for students who were on Medicaid while in foster care but are aging out of that system, Fish-Parcham notes. 

"New rules permit former foster children to keep Medicaid until age 26," she says.

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