Navigating the world of health insurance can be daunting, especially for college students who may need to familiarize themselves with the process. However, choosing the right health insurance plan is crucial for ensuring students are protected from unexpected medical expenses and have access to necessary healthcare services. To simplify this process, we have researched and compiled a list of our top three health insurance providers for college students.
Affordable health insurance for college students: shortlist
As a college student, it's important to have affordable and reliable health insurance coverage. However, with so many available options, it can be overwhelming to choose the right plan. That's why we have researched and created a shortlist of the top three health insurance providers offering affordable student coverage.
Each provider has unique advantages, whether it be a great mobile app, overall value, or exceptional coverage for urgent care. Our goal is to provide you with the information necessary to make an informed decision about health insurance options and ensure you have the coverage needed to stay healthy while pursuing your academic goals.
- Kaiser Permanente — best health insurance for graduate students over 26
- Blue Cross Blue Shield — best health insurance plan selection
- Aetna — best health insurance for urgent care
We based this selection on cost, state availability, provider benefits, plan features, and customer satisfaction. Let's take a closer look at each provider and the coverage they offer.
Best health insurance companies for college students
If you're a college student needing health insurance, choosing the right provider can be overwhelming. It's important to note that each provider has its pros and cons, which will be listed to help you make an informed decision.
1. Kaiser Permanente — best overall for college students
Kaiser Permanente is an excellent choice for college and graduates students over 26 looking for affordable health insurance. They offer comprehensive coverage, including preventive care, prescription drug coverage, and mental health services. Kaiser Permanente's plans also include various wellness programs and resources like online tools and telemedicine services.
2. Blue Cross Blue Shield — best plan selection
Blue Cross Blue Shield offers a wide range of health insurance plans, making it easy for college students to find coverage that meets their specific needs. Plans are available in most states and include benefits such as preventive care, emergency services, and prescription drug coverage. Blue Cross Blue Shield also offers a mobile app, making it easy to manage your coverage and find in-network providers.
3. Aetna — best for urgent care
Aetna is a great choice for college students needing urgent care services. Their plans include benefits such as telemedicine services, prescription drug coverage, and emergency care. Aetna also offers a range of wellness programs and resources, such as health coaching and fitness discounts.
How we ranked the best affordable health insurance for college students
Our research for the best affordable health insurance for college students involved analyzing a range of criteria. We considered various factors, including:
- Cost. We examined the types of plans different providers offer, their benefits, and dental coverage. We also compared the cost-to-value ratio of plans, considering factors such as premiums, deductibles, and out-of-pocket expenses.
- State availability. We studied the availability of plans across different states to ensure that students from various locations could access the recommended health insurance options.
- Provider benefits. We considered the benefits providers offer, including coverage for preventive care, prescription drugs, mental health services, and emergency care.
- Plan features. We assessed the plans' features, such as telemedicine services, wellness programs, and resources like online tools and mobile apps that can enhance the overall user experience.
- Customer satisfaction. We considered customer satisfaction ratings to ensure that the selected health insurance providers had a track record of providing satisfactory services to students.
Why would a college student need insurance?
College students may need health insurance to cover unexpected medical expenses, such as illness or injury. Health insurance can give students peace of mind knowing they are covered for unexpected medical expenses, provided preventive care services, and have coverage in an emergency. Health insurance can also provide access to preventive care services such as annual checkups and vaccinations, which can help students stay healthy and avoid more serious health problems.
With insurance, the cost of medical treatment can be relatively inexpensive, preventing a financial burden for students and their families. Many universities require students to have health insurance, either through a university-sponsored or private plan. In some cases, international students may need proof of health insurance to obtain a student visa. Overall, having health insurance can help college students focus on their studies and enjoy their college experience without the added stress of worrying about medical bills.
What to consider when choosing health insurance for college students
When choosing health insurance for college students, several factors must be considered:
- Your age and eligibility. First and foremost, it's crucial to determine the appropriate time or age to get insurance and whether you are eligible to remain on a parent's plan.
- Enrollment status. Also, consider whether you are a full-time or part-time student, as some insurance plans may have specific requirements based on enrollment status.
- Your required coverage. Another critical consideration is the coverage you need. For example, if you have a preexisting condition, you may need a comprehensive coverage plan for ongoing treatment.
- Provider network. Additionally, you should review the provider network in your area to ensure it includes your preferred doctors and medical facilities.
- Cost. Be sure to compare premiums, deductibles, and out-of-pocket expenses across different plans to find the best option to fit your budget.
- Plan's benefits and limitations. Finally, review the plan's benefits and restrictions or limitations that may apply to certain services or treatments. By considering all of these factors, you can make an informed decision and choose a health insurance plan that meets your college student needs.
By considering all of these factors, you can make an informed decision and choose a health insurance plan that meets your college student needs.
Other health insurance options for college students
Aside from the health insurance providers previously mentioned, college students may have other options for health insurance, such as Medicaid or student health insurance plans offered by their school.
Schools may design health insurance plans to meet the unique healthcare needs of students and may require students to have health insurance coverage. Conversely, Medicaid is a government-funded healthcare program providing coverage for eligible individuals and families with low income. Students need to research all available health insurance options and choose a plan that best fits their needs and budget.
Read more about other health insurance policies
Is health insurance mandatory for college students?
No, health insurance is not mandatory for college students, but it is recommended. The Affordable Care Act requires Americans to have health insurance or face a penalty, but exemptions exist. Note that having health insurance is important for the health and financial well-being of college students in the event of unexpected medical emergencies.
Can college students get cheaper insurance?
Yes, college students can sometimes get cheaper insurance options. Many providers offer unique plans specifically designed for students with lower premiums and deductibles. Additionally, some states have programs that provide discounted or free health insurance for college students.
Why do students need health insurance?
Yes, students need health insurance to protect themselves from unexpected medical expenses that can arise from accidents, illnesses, or injuries. Additionally, health insurance can provide access to preventative care and wellness programs, promoting overall health and well-being. Without health insurance, students could face significant medical debt, which can impact their financial stability and future.
- Healthcare. In school? Student health plans & other options.
- Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Student health plans.
- BCBS. 3 essential steps young adults should take to manage their health.
- Aetna. Supporting student health needs.
- Kaiser Permanente. Getting care when you're away at college.