Personal Health Care Insurance for College Students

College-bound students who were planning on coverage under their parents’ employer-provided health care insurance may need to add a personal health care insurance plan or college-provided plan to the rising cost of higher education.  Blame the prolonged recession.

Universities across the nation are reporting an uptick in the number of students applying for school-sponsored health care insurance. For example, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill noted a 27% percent increase over last year. According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, students are claiming their parents’ loss of insurance coverage is the predominant reason. Although parents who find themselves suddenly unemployed can opt for COBRA to extend their health insurance coverage, it’s an expensive option that in most instances only lasts 18 months. Besides, depending on the health care plan and the state where it was issued, coverage for dependent children ends as early as age 19 (although this may be extended through age 26 under proposed health care reform).

If you’re heading for college, or already there, and about to lose parent-provided health insurance, you have three options:

Chance it without insurance. You won’t be alone. Young adults under 25 make up just 17% of the total U.S. population but they account for 31% of the nation’s uninsured. Often, they don’t see the need to pay for health care insurance  because they’re young, healthy and would rather spend the money on something else. Anything else. The first trip to the hospital or doctor can be a big, expensive wake-up call. Clearly, not your best bet.

Look into your college health care insurance plan. These are generally a pretty good value since the risk pool is filled with people who are for the most part young and healthy. However, there are wide variations in plan price and coverage from school to school and schools typically only offer a one-size-fits-all program.

If the school program doesn’t suit your needs, start shopping online for personal health care insurance quotes at Be sure to read the policy fine print for restrictions and limitations. If you’re really strapped for cash, go for a high-deductible plan or look into opening a health savings account.


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