Student Health Insurance – Finding the Best Health Insurance Rates for College Students
August 15, 2008
Comparing student health insurance rates is not top of the list for most college students when preparing to leave for school. Seeing as how nearly one third of all college age Americans are uninsured, it’s obvious that it can be hard for students to pay for books/tuition plus come up with some money for health insurance. However, finding an insurance plan with low payments that can at least offer you catastrophic coverage is a good idea. This article will take you step by step through the various health insurance options available to you, and help you find the one that’s most affordable and that best fits your needs.
1) See if you can get coverage under your parent’s health insurance plan. Many insurance policies will allow parents to pay for their children’s insurance until they are out of college. This would be the cheapest option since you can work out a payment arrangement with your parents, or possibly get it for free.
If you don’t have the luxury of staying on your parent’s health insurance policy, then don’t worry, you still have plenty of options.
2) Check to see if your university offers a low cost health insurance policy. Some colleges are actually starting to require you to have health insurance before you are allowed to attend. Most colleges do offer low cost health insurance plans to their students. Check with your guidance counselor or your student resource center to find out about the types of insurance coverage they offer, and how much it will cost you to participate.
3) Look for a part or full time job that offers health insurance benefits. Working and going to school full time is hard, but not impossible. More and more companies are beginning to offer health insurance benefits when you work at least 20 hours a week. Restaurants in particular are good about offering insurance to their employees who work less than 40 hours a week.
Here are some of the top companies that offer health insurance to part time workers:
- United Parcel Service – UPS not only offers insurance to part time workers, but they also help you pay for school. It’s hard work, but if you need the help it’s a win-win situation.
- Starbucks – If you work at least 20 hours a week with Starbucks then you can get medical, dental and vision coverage under their insurance plans.
- Costco – Working 20 hours a week at Costco will get you medical, dental, vision and prescription coverage. There is a 180 day wait period from the time you start working for them though, so if you need insurance right away this may not be the best option.
- Trader Joe’s – If you’re into organic food then Trader Joe’s is a great place to work. They offer benefits to part time employees and offer employee discounts that just might let you fit their natural, organic food into your shoestring budget.
- Home Depot – They offer medical and dental benefits to part time workers, and tuition reimbursement to full time employees.
- Staples – Working 20 hours a week at Staples gets you access to their insurance program. They even offer life insurance, and a pre-tax flexible spending account with a company match policy. Staples also has a yearly scholarship program for it’s employees that helps cover the cost of your tuition.
- McDonalds – Flipping burgers might not be an ideal job, but it pays the bills! It could also net you Health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance and a stock option plan. They also offer college tuition assistance. Some McDonald’s are independently owned though, so if you want the benefits you will need to look for a corporate run store and not an independently owned chain.
- Circuit City – Part time employees at Circuit City are eligible for health, dental and vision insurance. They also provide tuition assistance to help you pay for your college courses.
4) Consider purchasing your own insurance plan – This can be costly, but there are a few programs out there designed specifically to offer health insurance to college students. You can get health insurance through Humana for around $30 a month. Aetna, Anthem, and United Healthcare also offer individual health insurance policies for students. Depending on the insurance plan you choose you can expect to pay between $30 and $70 a month for your coverage.
You can use eHealthInsurace to get health insurance quotes and compare plans. You provide the zip code where you live and where you’ll attend school, when you need your coverage to start, your gender, and birth date and they’ll give you a list of student health insurance quotes from a wide variety of plans.
These steps may seem like a lot to go through just to pay for health insurance, but it really is essential. Even though you are young, and healthy, well nobody plans for accidents. If something were to happen to you, and you had no insurance, then you would be up to your eyeballs in debt faster than you could scream “Nurse!”
Your future is too important to leave to chance – please don’t risk going without at least a basic health insurance policy.
Have other student insurance questions? We cover how to save money on student car insurance in this series. We also take a look at how you can make extra money in college, the best checking accounts for college students, and the best student credit cards.
Today’s average college student has at least one gadget in their dorm room. Stay tuned for the college student gadget guide where we look at the most affordable laptop, cell phone, iPod, printer, and camera for students.
This review of student health insurance plans and options for getting insured is part of the College Student Money Guide.
All posts by Connie Brooks