Health

Healthcare Financing Resources for Low-Income College Students

September 21, 2020

Let’s face it: learning is its own reward, yes. But you’re in college primarily to build a better life for yourself and your family. You might be getting your education to escape the life of struggle that you have watched your parents endure.

But building a better life ain’t cheap. And, right now, what money you have goes mainly to school and to the essentials of living. Ponying up for private health insurance might feel like a luxury you can’t afford right now. 

Yet without that coverage, you’re also probably tempted to let your regular healthcare fall by the wayside. After all, you’re young and your physical and mental health care just might not feel like a priority right now. That is, not until you really need it. 

This article shows you how to finance your healthcare when you’re a college student living on a budget.

Know Your Options

When you’re looking to finance your healthcare, the first thing you should do is explore your eligibility for coverage under your family’s plan or through your university health system. In many cases, full-time college students can qualify for coverage under a parent’s group health insurance plan up to the age of 26.

If that doesn’t work out, you might be eligible for lower-cost student health insurance coverage through your college, university, or trade school. The chances are especially good if you enroll in a work-study program through your school.

Don’t Forget the Marketplace or Medicaid

If it turns out you are not eligible for coverage under your parents’ or school’s plan, don’t despair. There are still options. For example, depending on your income, you might qualify for Medicaid, which will allow you to enjoy good benefits at a relatively low monthly premium. 

The maximum income cutoffs for Medicaid, however, can be pretty stringent. If you’re above the threshold but still don’t earn enough to bear the often ridiculous costs of private insurance, you might be able to get coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). 

With the ACA, the percentage of uninsured Americans dropped from nearly 16% to just over 9%. Through the Marketplace, you can choose the level of coverage you want or need — and the premiums you can afford.

Don’t Forget the “Extras”

Getting good healthcare is about more than funding your medical care. It’s also about taking care of the whole person, mind, body, and spirit.  And that should include everything from mental healthcare to dental care. 

After all, life is stressful, and going to college on a shoestring budget is especially so. But getting care doesn’t have to be expensive. Case in point: you have a lot of options today for accessing low-cost therapy. This includes online therapy apps to help you access immediate, on-demand support from the safety of your own home if you are battling anxiety or depression.

And while you’re taking care of your body and your mind, you mustn’t forget your smile! Living on a budget doesn’t mean you have to put off your dental care. Even if you’re in need of a non-essential or cosmetic procedure, such as a crown or veneer, there are funding options that don’t require you to break the bank.

If you set up a budget and cut out some of the extras you’re spending on unnecessary fees or on little luxuries, like your morning coffee run, you can probably cover the cost of your new smile or your other healthcare services pretty easily.

The Takeaway

Going to college on a shoestring budget is tough. But it doesn’t mean you have to do without the physical, mental, and dental healthcare you deserve. From finding coverage through your school to tapping the resources of the ACA to taking advantage of online therapy apps and dental financing, there are options available to ensure you receive the care you need.

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