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Does Your Health Plan Cover Your Child Away at College?

Does Your Health Plan Cover Your Child Away at College?

Many parents get a big surprise when they find out that their health insurance won’t cover their kids when they go off to college, particularly if they are out of state.

The problem is that the health plan they may get through work may not have networks in the area or region. If your child is going to school locally or in the same part of the state you are in, the chances are good you’d be able to keep them on your plan. However, that’s not always the case.

You can get peace of mind by taking steps to ensure they are covered for whatever life may throw at them.

Before you do anything else, you should check with your current plan to see if it has a provider network in the area where your child is living. If there is, then you should be set. You’ll just need to make sure they can get set up with a new personal physician in the area near their school.

Remember, you can keep your adult children on your health plan until they are 26. This includes group health plan family coverage or family coverage purchased in the private market or on an Affordable Care Act exchange.

If they are going to school out of state or in an area that your current health plan does not cover, here are the options you have available to you.


PPO with out-of-state coverage

If you need to purchase insurance for your student out of state, you may want to consider insuring with a preferred provider organization that includes out-of-state coverage.

With this in mind, many carriers offer plans specifically for students who are going to school out of state but are still residents in their home state. There are a number of options for this type of coverage.


School health plans

Another option is a school health plan. As most universities require students to have health coverage, many of them offer a schools-sponsored health plan as a supplement to your health coverage, which you should keep them on in this case.

The one thing about these school plans is that they are fairly limited. If your child falls ill, they will only have access to treatment at health care facilities on their campus. For more serious issues, they would need to go to hospital or a facility off-campus.

The good news is that the plans are relatively inexpensive and they provide good coverage for more run-of-the-mill ailments that can be handled by a campus health care system.


Child-only coverage

The ACA created a new category of “child-only coverage,” which defines a child as anyone 19 years old or younger. This type of coverage can be purchased either in the private market, which can be expensive, or on an ACA exchange in any state.


The takeaway

Obviously, you’ll want to ensure that your college kid has proper health insurance while away at school. Accidents happen and people get sick.

If you’re concerned about their coverage, please give us a call and we can work with you to see what options are available for you and your child.


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