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03/25/2008

College Health Coverage: Planning For Parents

So your baby is heading off to college. As a parent you have thought of everything from the dorm room, to books, cafeteria plan; just about everything. However, many parents forget to think about health coverage. They either keep the insurance they have or pay for for coverage offered by the college. Before jumping policies, take some time to read this article - you will be surprised at the many options there are.

There are several things that you as a parent should look into in order to make sure that your child has health care coverage while in college. Although colleges and universities across the United States have health centers, there's a chance many won't necessarily take your current insurance policy. It will be important for you to find out if your insurance coverage is something that the college health center will take. If they don't then you have several options to consider.

First, keep in mind that even if the college does not accept your current health insurance, there might be a hospital or emergent care center close by the college that will accept it. If it is not too far and your child can get to medical help when needed then you might not want to change the policy. Another thing to keep in mind is that most health insurance companies only allow for dependent children to continue on a policy until they reach the age of 25. This is sometimes longer if you can prove full-time student status. However, this is something that you will have to check out with the company.

Another option you have if you cannot keep your child on your insurance plan (or if the place that accepts your current insurance is too far away or inaccessible) is to check out the insurance that the college/university offers. Many times the school's insurance coverage is much less expensive. It will be important to make sure that you check out the health facility to make sure that they will have complete care should your child need it. Also, make sure to check to see what happens if your child is sent out to another facility such as a hospital.

Under the college policy, your child might not be covered at an outside facility. In some cases, it might be even better to have coverage through the school which would allow for use of the health center as well as an individual emergency only plan through another private insurance company. This would cover your child for emergencies which result in going to the hospital as well as making sure that they get the care for illnesses that require health center care.

Some health centers at universities and college only offer ‘fee for service' care. This means that your child will be expected to pay out of pocket at the time of visit. While this might seem like a big hassle, once payment has been made and a receipt given, you can always put in a claim for reimbursement with your current health insurance company. There are a lot of times when many insurance companies will reimburse for some if not all of the out of pocket expenses incurred at a college heath center. However, it will be up to you as a parent to make sure to contact the insurance company and find out if this is an option.

As the parent of a child going into college, it will be up to you to determine the best health insurance coverage. This means that you will have to make sure to ask the important question- does the college accept your private health insurance. If the college/university responds with a no, then it will be up to you to determine what the best course of action is to make sure that your child can get the medical attention that they need without incurring huge medical bills.





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