Most of the state and private colleges and universities in the United States require their full-time students to maintain health insurance coverage during the duration of their collegiate careers. If a student does not qualify for a student health insurance waiver, he or she is required to sign up for an insurance plan offered by the university health services. While this precautionary measure protects the university from all the possible liabilities that can come from an uninsured student seeking medical help in case of an illness, it also imposes a mandatory fee on all of the students that participate in that institution’s health insurance program.
International travel insurance and student health insurance are two of the most common insurance types offered directly by an institution of higher learning. An international health insurance policy, as the name might suggest, is applicable to students who arrive from other countries to a country where they will be attending college. With this insurance, a wide variety of services is covered by the policy and a list of doctors participating in the program in the immediate area is given to a student for his or her use. The drawbacks of this insurance are that a student might not be immediately reimbursed for his or her use of medical services, even if they are stated to be covered by an insurance agreement. A student may have to pay for a medical service in full and then wait for a reimbursement to come through at a later date. This arrangement might, obviously, not be agreeable to for many international students who simply might not have the means of paying for medical services in full.
If a student is attending a college or a university in the same country he or she was born or is a citizen of, he or she is offered the option of acquiring student health insurance . Most students, at the time of their college enrollment, may not be aware of their college’s policy of mandatory health insurance enrollment and may be hit with a bill just weeks prior to the beginning of classes. The usual practice of an average university is to send out an email to a student, requesting a proof of an adequate insurance coverage from a third-party, if that student wants to waive the mandatory university health insurance change. If a student fails to provide such a proof in a timely manner, he or she has no choice but to comply with the university’s regulations and enroll in its health plan.
There are several negative aspects about being confined to a university health insurance plan. The first such down side is the fact that there is usually only one, inflexible plan that attempts to cover the needs of a wide breadth of students attending the university. A student, in other words, does not have the option of customizing his or her health plan according to his or her specific health concerns. While some students may be perfectly content with the coverage of a student health plan, others might find that the coverage does not extend to cover all of the more specific medical needs.
Another disadvantage is the often staggering cost that many students end up being stuck with, as a result of not having outside health insurance of their own. While the basic coverage may extend to a variety of services, including mental health and dental, many students never make use of the savings simply because they are at their healthiest, at a peak of physical and mental prowess. Most twenty-year olds do not need the extensive coverage in the first place which is why so many college students feel like they are being cheated out of even more money, in addition to their already mounting college expenses.
Private or outside insurance may be a low-cost alternative to inflexible, higher-cost student health plans. While some of the extensive, all-inclusive health plans can be very expensive and cost an average person hundreds of dollars a month, a student can look into lower-cost alternatives that are offered by many insurance companies and are designed specifically for young, healthy individuals. These low-cost, minimum coverage plans are highly customizable and can help a student get out of being forced to sign up for a student health insurance plan at his or her school.
Shopping around is a great strategy before actually committing to one specific plan – many health insurance companies offer free quotes that can help a student make a solid estimate about the cost of a potential insurance plan. Based on variable deductibles, out-of-pocket and yearly coverage maximums, a student can easily figure out what plan will work best for him or her, just by clicking a mouse and taking a few minutes out of the day to do the necessary research.