What is Student Health Insurance?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Student health insurance is a form of health insurance which is designed specifically for students. Many colleges and universities are linked with health insurance plans, and they may require their students to buy into the school's plan, or to demonstrate that they have sufficient coverage from another source. In addition to getting insurance through a school, students can also opt for student health insurance provided by an insurance company with plans which cater to students.

Students may be able to get reduced rates on health insurance if they are enrolled full time at a college or university.
Students may be able to get reduced rates on health insurance if they are enrolled full time at a college or university.

While students are generally relatively healthy because of their age, they do have some unique health care needs. Many students travel at some point during their education, making coverage which includes travel critical, especially if they visit developing nations. Students are also at higher risk of developing meningococcal disease and other conditions which are exacerbated by living in crowded and mixed conditions. Some students also require reproductive and sexual health services, which can be quite costly for women.

Universities often provide basic health care through a student clinic if they have dormitories and other residential facilities. Students may pay health fees are part of their overall school fees. In the case of schools affiliated with teaching hospitals, students can access a wide variety of services through their student health plans, while smaller colleges may send their students off-site for care, making a health insurance plan which covers major issues very important.

Many companies which sell health insurance offer a student health insurance package. Student health insurance tends to be lower-cost, recognizing the fact that students often have less money to pay for services such as health insurance, and there may be special restrictions on the plan. These plans can fill the gap between coverage provided by the school and other coverage which the student may need, which can be especially critical in the case of students managing chronic diseases.

When students enroll in school, they should read the documentation about the student health plan carefully. If they think that the basic health plan will meet their needs, it may be advisable to purchase catastrophic health insurance, and to rely on student health services for everything else. If the plan is insufficient, as might be the case when the college only offers a glorified nurse's office, or when a student has special needs, students may want to ask the health services office about whether or not the school partners with an insurance company to provide additional coverage. If this is not the case, students can talk to insurance agents or brokers about student health insurance coverage options which will meet their needs.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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