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When our daughter went off to college, my wife and I were excited and overwhelmed with decisions. However, one decision we forgot to consider was health insurance. Should our daughter stay on the family plan? We assumed she would, but we needed more information to choose the best option for all of us.

Student insurance plan or family plan?

Here are the answers to seven questions that helped me make the best decision for my family.

1. Will my existing group or individual plan cover my child if they are in a different city, state or country?

Check with your health insurance company to determine eligibility. Many times, students that study away from home are covered under their parents’ plans, but additional costs may be charged if the only available doctors or clinics are out-of-network. If your child is going to be out of the country to study abroad, contact the insurance provider to confirm coverage and any additional information your child may need to know if an emergency occurs.
 

2. What is the best deal?

In addition to college tuition, books, and living expenses, the cost of healthcare is another significant expense to consider. The monthly premium is only one factor. Parents should also look into co-pays for in-network and out-of-network providers, and requirements for ongoing medical care like insulin, prescriptions, and mental health visits.Many campuses offer student health centers, but the centers may not be in-network for the family plan. When you compare all of the factors, the student insurance plan may be the better value.

 

3. Is the coverage adequate?

Often students and parents choose the option that has the lowest price tag. However, price should not be the only consideration. Each family should evaluate their child’s health needs and risks, and make sure they understand the coverage of each plan before making a decision.

4.What does my child need to know about their insurance?

Students can only take full advantage of the services an insurer offers if they read and understand the heath insurance benefits booklets. This will help to eliminate any surprises about charges for co-pays or medical services.It’s also important for students to know the following:

    • Where to go for care
    • What their copays are
    • How to contact the insurer’s customer service department with questions

 

5. Can I contact the insurance company on my child’s behalf?

If your child is 18 years or older and on their own plan, they will need to agree and complete an authorization form for you to represent them.

 

6. How long can my child stay on my family insurance plan?

In most cases, college students are able to continue coverage under a parent’s health insurance plan until they turn 26 years old.

 

7. If I lose my job as the primary insurance holder, are my kids eligible to purchase a college plan after the deadline?

If a student is forced off of other coverage due to a Qualifying Life Event, then they can enroll in the student health plan outside of the open enrollment/waiver period. For most qualifying events, the student must submit his or her late enrollment application within 30 days of the qualifying event.

There is a lot to consider, and we are here to help. We’ve insured students for more than 25 years. Our Student Blue insurance plans provide quality care and meet the needs of thousands of students. Find out more about student insurance or individual and family plans. If you have questions, contact a local agent, or visit one of our retail locations, by email or by phone (1-800-324-4973).

Let your child worry about tests, not health insurance. We’ve got that covered!

About James LaCorte

James LaCorte is a Social Media Manager and has been employed with BCBSNC since 2003. He has built his career working in a variety of areas across the company. When not working you can find him kayaking a local river, photographing a nature scene, or running around with his family.