healthinsurance student
August 15, 2010 2:14 PM   Subscribe

How to go about getting inexpensive health insurance as a student?

I am 20 years old and will be starting college in the fall. I am currently uninsured and working part-time, trying to support myself.

I went to and it helped me narrow down a few affordable plans from Celtic ($50.00 - $80.00 a month), but they got quite low reviews. I don't really have anyone to help me with this, and I am afraid of picking a plan and putting what little money I do have into this, only to realize that I missed some fine print.

My school's health insurance is too expensive for me ($130.00 a month), so that's not really an option.

If anyone could direct me to some resources, that would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
posted by DeltaForce to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Do you make little enough income to receive Medicaid-based insurance? I think you may have to be independent (e.g. not listed as a dependent on your parents' tax forms) to qualify, but if you do, it's free.
posted by griphus at 2:20 PM on August 15, 2010

What state are you in?
posted by thewestinggame at 2:21 PM on August 15, 2010

Do you need emergency coverage or more?
posted by k8t at 2:22 PM on August 15, 2010

What state are you in? What (and when) was your last health coverage? If you have parents that have group coverage, when is their plan year and/or what's your dependent status?

$130 actually sounds pretty low compared to what you might find in the individual market (especially if you are not HIPAA eligible and have pre-exes). Are you looking for catastrophic only?

In most states, Medicaid would require you to be in one of the optional (or mandatory - are you disabled? pregnant) eligible groups - it's not just income.
posted by Pax at 2:33 PM on August 15, 2010

Have you seen if you can get coverage through your school? At my undergrad everyone who didn't have insurance of their own, or through their parents, got covered through the school's insurance program. It was pretty much automatic, unless you opted out, and was billed as part of my tuition so it was paid by my financial aid. It was pretty inexpensive, even if financial aid hadn't covered it.
posted by apricot at 2:48 PM on August 15, 2010

Oh, crap. I'm sorry. I totally missed where you talked about school coverage!
posted by apricot at 2:49 PM on August 15, 2010

Does your school have a health center? I had health center only coverage at my undergrad institution, and it was an affordable way to get basic coverage.
posted by mmmbacon at 3:05 PM on August 15, 2010

Hi everyone, thanks for the answers so far. Relevant info:

-I am in Ohio
-I claim myself as an independent
-I have never had health insurance
-I am not exactly sure what kind of coverage I want. Ideally for basic doctor's visits, and coverage in case anything scary happens.
-I am in good health, eat well, exercise, etc.
-My school's health center provides coverage for 130.00 a month which I simply cannot afford.
posted by DeltaForce at 3:13 PM on August 15, 2010

Oh and I live on about $700.00 a month (I pay for my food, rent, car insurance, etc).
posted by DeltaForce at 3:16 PM on August 15, 2010

So you have no need for prescriptions?
posted by k8t at 3:32 PM on August 15, 2010

PS, MANY colleges require that students have a certain level of coverage. My university lists what needs to be covered here:

I tried to demonstrate that I was covered under a health insurance plan from a fellowship program that I was on but the lack of MRI coverage made it ineligible.

So then they automatically charged me for the school-sponsored insurance anyway and there was no way for me to argue it off my tution bill.

You may want to check if your school has a similar policy.
posted by k8t at 3:37 PM on August 15, 2010

Unless there are some provisions which have been implemented under the recently passed national health care reform act I think you are where you are. As with many other Americans you maybe in a situation where you will either have to live in your car or give up your car if you want health insurance. I admire your attempts to secure health insurance but it is going to be tough for you. The obvious solutions are to see if you can be covered under one of your parents insurance( if they have it) and you are a full time student, see if there is any COBRA for which you might be eligible (I doubt it), or check with Medicaid (I doubt it). Call your local office of Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Service and see if you are eligible under any provisions of the new national law. Good luck and congratulations on your foresight.
posted by rmhsinc at 3:45 PM on August 15, 2010

While your university's health insurance might be too expensive, your university's health care center/clinic probably can help connect you with whatever Ohio/federal benefits you might qualify for. Give them a call or stop by.

This page, from the Department of Health and Human Services, can help you find out if you're eligible for free/reduced-price care at health clinics across the country, and this page on the same site can help you find those clinics.

Also: if your income is low enough, you may qualify for Ohio's version of food stamps called the "Ohio Direction Card", which could change your overall income picture and make university insurance that much easier to afford.

Good luck!
posted by mdonley at 3:47 PM on August 15, 2010

@k8t Yes, no need for prescriptions.

Also, I checked the invoice for my tuition, and the school's policy, no insurance required or included.
posted by DeltaForce at 4:39 PM on August 15, 2010

High Deductible Health Savings Account. I recommend assurant health.
posted by yoyoceramic at 3:23 PM on August 16, 2010

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