As a young, healthy college student, it might be tempting to forgo the expense of health insurance. After all, you're young, you're careful and you're not sick. You don't really need health insurance, do you?
Absolutely, say most colleges. In fact, there's a growing trend among colleges and universities to require health insurance for all enrolled students. According the health officials, the very things that make dorm living and college so much fun for college students are the perfect place for viruses and other illnesses to spread like wildfire through an entire dorm. Doctors’ bills, equipment costs, prescription costs - even just the costs associated with a simple outbreak of the flu can run into several hundred dollars. It's not unusual, they say, for an undergraduate student to find themselves stuck with medical bills totaling several thousand dollars from one illness or injury. In many cases, these bills are absorbed by the university itself through its medical clinic.
Many students and their parents may mistakenly assume that the student is still covered on their parents’ health insurance plan. While many health insurance plans do cover full-time college students who are on their parent’s plans, many more limit that coverage to local doctors only. If you're attending school out of state, you may find yourself with no coverage if you get sick or have an accident.
If you've been covered under your parent’s health insurance until now, the real cost of health care may come as a major shock. You may be used to paying a $20 or $25 co-payment for office visits, or $50 for an emergency room visit. Without insurance, a single visit to the emergency room averages about $500 in bills - and that's before any casts, sutures, X-rays or other treatments are added in. Something as simple as a sprained ankle can run up bills totaling several hundred dollars.
The solution is an affordable temporary or student health insurance plan that's designed specifically to cover illnesses for students studying away from home. Many colleges and universities offer their own health insurance plans, or one through a local health insurance provider. They take into account the financial situation of most students with extremely affordable rates through a group plan for which any student attending the university is eligible. One of the most affordable options you can find, most health insurance plans offered through a university cost less than $1000 annually, and will cover any health or accident related expenses as long as you maintain a specific number of hours as a registered student.
Health insurance isn't something you can afford to forgo to save a little money. Affordable health insurance plans through your university can end up saving you thousands in medical bills if you do end up in an accident or getting sick.
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Carrie Reeder is the owner of eZerk , an informational website with articles and the latest news about various topics.