Starting college is a big step in a person’s life and for many students it signals a major change in their lives: not having health insurance. While some health insurance plans will continue to cover college students, those plans won’t last forever and, at some point, students will be faced with some tough choices.
Statistics About College Student Health Insurance
A study funded by the Heinz Family Philanthropies and the Chickering Group in 2002 found that 30% of college students don’t have any type of health insurance. That’s more than 4 million students who have to pay for all of their health care needs out-of-pocket.
The same study also discovered that those students without health insurance were also less likely to finish college than those who were covered by policies. Sadly, the reason is often that students have to drop out of school in order to work and pay off their medical bills.
More commonly, a simple illness that could quickly and easily be treated with antibiotics may cause an uninsured student on a limited budget to miss several days of classes and fall behind in schoolwork simply because he or she could not afford to visit the doctor or pay for a prescription.
College Student Health Insurance Options
For students who do not have health care coverage, there are several options. First, students need to contact their college about available health care coverage. Many colleges and universities work with health care providers to offer affordable packages to students. In many cases, the premiums can be covered simply by taking out a few extra hundred dollars in student loans.
Another option is to contact the local emergency room and ask about income-based clinics in the area. Many cities have health care facilities designed for individuals without health care. The cost for services at these facilities are based on your income. Students usually pay nothing or only the minimum amount. Some of these facilities provide yearly check-ups, birth control, and prescriptions for these reduced fees.
For more ideas on how to locate college student health insurance, read “Getting Health Insurance” at APA Online. College students in California may want to read “California Medical Insurance” as well.