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The Guide
Student Health Insurance

Understanding the Health Insurance Requirements at Your College

Most colleges in the United States provide some type of student health insurance plan to full time students attending that college. In fact, many universities will require full-time students to be enrolled in a health plan. If the student does not provide proof of insurance at time of enrollment, the school will enroll the student in their own university health plan and include it as part of their tuition or registration fees.

Most universities understand the importance of providing adequate health care to their students. Primary reasons given are to provide immediate access to medical care, protect against financial catastrophe and keep students healthy so there is no disruption in their academic goals. In addition to providing student health insurance options, many college campuses will have student health centers that perform the basic medical treatments such as physician visits, immunizations, routine check-ups, and prescription drug fulfillment. Insurance carriers that specialize in student health insurance will often customize a health plan for a college and many of the benefits offered under this customized health plan will be associated with services provided by the student health center.

When reviewing the student health center and health insurance options at your college, you might want to confirm that you have access to the student health center without having the student health insurance that is offered by your college. Many student health centers will provide free or low-cost health care to full-time students even if they are not insured under the college's health plan.

Your college may offer a student health plan, but they may also give you the option to get your own coverage. If this option is available, your college may require proof of coverage at the time you enroll in order to waive the health insurance fee from your tuition bill. Most likely, you will have to provide proof of coverage that meets the minimum standards required at your university. There may limits on the coverage levels, out-of-pocket maximums, deductible options, availability of physicians, etc. Some universities may also require that the insurance company be U.S.-based and owned. This is most pertinent to foreign students who may have personal health insurance options in their home country.

In placing these minimum requirements on personal health insurance policies, the college has the good intent on making certain that you have health insurance coverage that is adequate to protect you in the event of a catastrophic illness or injury and also provides you with access to medical facilities within close proximity to the university.

If you decide that you want to compare the college's student health plan with private student health plans, it is important to fully understand the minimum requirements set forth by your university. Make sure that any student health plan you are considering meets these requirements or it will not be accepted by your college and you will probably be automatically enrolled in the student health plan offered through the student health center.

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