Graduate student insurance refers to health insurance plans offered to students attending graduate school. Students are sometimes offered favorable rates by private insurance companies or a packaged insurance deal by their school. Graduate student insurance can help keep students healthy and cover any care necessary in case of an emergency.
Most large graduate schools offer graduate student insurance to all incoming students. This helps reduce the school's liability in case of accidents or injuries, and also serves as a public health measure to protect all students against contagious illness. Some schools go so far as to require all students to have graduate student insurance, even if the school does not offer an insurance program for students. In these cases, students may need to provide proof of graduate student insurance before they are permitted to enroll each semester.
Private health insurance may sometimes provide lower-cost health insurance for college and graduate students. Reduced rates may be based on proof of full-time enrollment in a school, and may lapse if the student takes a semester off or drops below half-time enrollment levels. Some insurance companies have packages specially designed to meet the medical and health needs of college students, while others simply market their publicly-offered packages at a discounted rate. Not all insurance companies offer the same services for the same rate, so it may be a good idea to comparison shop before choosing graduate student insurance.
When building a graduate student insurance package, there are some services and issues that may warrant careful consideration. For instance, if the school has a well-regarded hospital or health center on campus, try to find a package that includes care at that facility. This can make getting appointments or emergency care far more convenient without having to worry about whether the care is covered. Consider looking for packages that also include vision and dental care coverage to ensure that these needs are not neglected while a student is busy with school.
Lower rates are sometimes easier to find by purchasing an emergency or catastrophic insurance policy. These policies limit coverage to items such as surgery, hospital stays, and other major medical costs. While these packages do not usually include preventative care or discounted prescriptions and often carry a high deductible, they may be the only logical choice for a student that needs insurance but cannot afford an expensive comprehensive package. In some regions, it is now legal for students to remain on family insurance policies while attending college; if this is an option, it may help save students and their families much needed money on graduate student insurance.