Health Insurance

The first place to look for coverage is your college: Almost all institutions have plans in place for all students and they are automatically added to fee bills unless students submit a waiver. The cost varies from school to school (the University of Miami currently charges $1650 per year while Santa Clara University’s annual fee is $1330), as does the amount and duration of coverage so check the terms of the policy to ensure your coverage doesn’t end when school does.

If your school does not offer student insurance or you are dissatisfied with the rates or coverage, turn to the Internet. A quick Google search for “college student insurance” turns up a number of sites specializing in just that. Plans are available for undergraduate, graduate, part-time and full-time students and can allow you to choose your own doctors both at home and at school. Higher deductibles and extra fees for prescriptions and emergency room visits could apply, making it important to read the fine print in order to avoid money management snafus like sizeable out-of-pocket spending.

Are you an international student studying in the U.S. or an American student planning on studying abroad? Your standard insurance isn’t going to cut it outside your home country, meaning you’ll need to sign up for a special plan for the duration of your trip. Obtaining quality medical care is hard enough but a language barrier can significantly hamper the process; thankfully, most travel insurance providers provide 24-hour access to reliable medical facilities, proven providers and assistance in relaying messages to family members back home. These plans will cover you for up to one year abroad so if you are planning on studying, interning or traveling for longer, be sure to renew your policy.

For recent college graduates, there is often a gap between the end of school and the start of their first “real world” job and many of these individuals take their chances without insurance during this time. Big mistake when short-term insurance is available. Plans like these run on a month-to-month basis – perfect if your new company has a waiting period until you’re eligible to join its insurance plan – and can be cancelled at any time. As with plans for undergraduate, graduate and study abroad students, cost and coverage will vary but it’s better to have some coverage than none at all while trying to find the job of your dreams.

No one expects to slip down the stairs while doing their laundry, fracture a foot while skateboarding to class, gain a Heimlich maneuver-induced broken rib from choking on gelato in Italy or suffer a back injury on the way to a job interview but accidents do happen. Why be forced to take out more student loans to pay for medical bills when there are so many plans out there to protect you? If you end up hurt without coverage, however, we won’t say we told you so but will instead offer this last bit of info: Some policies can be activated within 24 hours to ease you (and your wallet’s) pain. Be safe out there, everyone!

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