Business / Campus Life / Health

6 things college students should know about health insurance

by Kaitlyn Wolodkewitsch

As laws change, students need to keep themselves informed so that they are not caught off guard and they do not get fined, or worse, for violating laws that they did not know were in place. As the Trump administration discusses the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and other laws, it is important to know what is expected of you. Here are a few things that college students should know about health care.

Young adults can stay on your parent’s health insurance until you are 26 years old. The Affordable Care Act required insurance companies to cover young adults up to the age of 26 on any plans that started on or after Sept. 23, 2010. Under this act, young adults will be covered even if they are not students, do not live with their parents or are not considered to be a dependent on their parent’s tax returns. As Congress is talking about repealing the Affordable Care Act, this could change.

Once 26 is reached, there is a special enrollment period. This period allows you to enroll outside of the usual open enrollment time. Special life events also fall under the special enrollment period. According to healthcare.gov, these life events include: losing coverage, getting married, having a baby, moving to a new zip code, legally getting separated, death in the household, losing your eligibility for Medicaid or Medicare and more.

Health insurance is required in order to avoid paying a fine. Under the Affordable Care Act, everyone is required to have health insurance. This fee occurs every month in which you, your dependents or your spouses do not have coverage. There are two ways in which this fee is calculated: household income or per person. This fee will be paid at tax time.

Marketplace coverage is available for anyone who doesn’t have coverage. According to healthcare.org, there are two types of coverage and both types cover pre-existing conditions (asthma, diabetes, etc), basic health benefits and preventive services. Preventive services include things like screening tests and shots. These services are free when in the network. There are ten categories of health services that are considered to be basic health benefits. The law requires health insurances to cover these ten categories. The deadline to apply for marketplace coverage starting Jan. 1, 2018, is Dec. 15.

For families whose income is too high for Medicaid, they may be eligible for Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP.) According to Medicaid.gov, CHIP is for children under the age of 19 who do not have insurance. CHIP also has a special section for pregnant women. Check with your state to see what the qualifications are.

Norfolk State University international students can purchase a health insurance plan through the university. According to PGH Global, the PGH student program may also cover eligible students with dependents such as children and spouses under 26 years of age. This plan does not cover students who are U.S. citizens.

With those points in mind, it is important to stay informed as laws change around you.  Since health insurance is required, it is important to know what your options are. Staying informed is important so when laws change and they affect you negatively you are prepared.

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