Best Health Insurance for Student

When you’re young and in school, health insurance is the last of your worries. But as a college student, it’s important that you have coverage in case of emergencies so you’re not saddled with more debt. Young adults have the highest uninsured rate of any group; in fact, about 30% of young adults don’t have insurance coverage, leaving them in jeopardy if they face medical bills.1 The average cost to fix a broken leg is $7,500, while the average cost of a three-day hospital stay is a staggering $30,000. Without health insurance, you’re stuck covering the entire bill on your own.2

What is Student Health Insurance?

Student health insurance is simply a health insurance plan that covers students, which can include health plans you purchase through your school.

Health problems tend to become more common with age, so young adults fortunate enough to be in good health may think that paying a monthly premium for coverage they won’t use is a waste of money. But having insurance can actually save you money in the long run — all it takes is one emergency or bout of illness to tack on some medical debt.

There is a variety of health insurance for college students available to choose from, depending on your specific situation. Typically, college students have the following options, which are explained in further detail below:

  • Parental coverage: people who are under the age of 26 can get coverage through their parent’s healthcare plan if their parent has insurance that covers dependents.
  • Marketplace insurance: You can apply for coverage through the Affordable Care Act marketplace — and if you have a lower income, you may qualify for tax subsidies for more affordable coverage.
  • School health insurance plans: Your college, university or institution may offer student healthcare plans, which usually satisfy any legal requirements for health insurance.
  • Medicaid or CHIP: You may qualify for Medicaid or CHIP if you live alone or you or your family meet low income standards. CHIP stands for the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Check your eligibility on
  • Private healthcare: You can purchase coverage directly from a private company.
  • Short-term health plans: Depending on the laws in your state, you may be able to get a temporary or short-term health plan. These are often more affordable than standard health insurance — but be cautious. Many of these plans don’t meet minimum ACA standards and have strict rules as well as limited benefits.

Best Student Health Insurance

Now that you understand the different health insurance policies available for students, you’re ready to start searching for the coverage that best meets your needs. We’ll walk you through the best insurance companies and options available for students like you.

1. School Health Insurance Coverage

If you’re relatively healthy and live on campus, it might make the most sense to enroll in your school’s health insurance. These plans typically provide all basic health services that college students will need at an affordable cost.

Best of all, most universities have onsite physicians you can visit, making it a convenient way to take care of your health. Most colleges also offer different levels of coverage, making it easy for you to select exactly what you need.

2. Medicaid

If you’re from a low-income family or are not a dependant and make a small wage each year, you should look into Medicaid options. In many cases, if you make under a certain income, your health costs can be fully covered, saving you thousands in premiums each year.

Even if you don’t meet this income requirement, you may still be eligible for low-cost insurance as a student, especially if you live on your own. If you think you can’t afford health insurance, applying for Medicaid might get you good coverage at a low price.

3. Cigna

If you want a provider with many options to explore, you should look into Cigna plans on the Marketplace or via its website. Cigna offers many different tiers of basic health coverage, as well as catastrophic or minimal coverage plans. It has a plan suitable for most income levels and allows you to add additional coverages like vision and supplemental insurance.

Cigna is also an affordable option with low copays and plans that have saved individuals an average of $539 each year.

4. Blue Cross Blue Shield

Students have different needs than other individuals and Blue Cross Blue Shield understands this. Since you might need immunizations and shots over quarterly checkups, Blue Cross Blue Shield has teamed with different states and schools to offer its own Blue coverage plans for students.

It offers student-specific plans that vary by state, with low-cost insurance coverage options for students. You can find your state’s plan by visiting their site and selecting your state of residency (or the state that your school is in) to learn more.


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