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health insurance

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.

Health Uncategorized

Short Term Needs Meet Short-Term Care!

July 12, 2017

If you are currently looking for a job you may notice that there aren’t very many companies offering insurance benefits.  If you look even closer, you may notice the same plans offered aren’t covering as much as they used to.   This poses a big problem for graduates or graduates-to-be.  With all the media coverage on the importance of health insurance.  Many graduates are finding themselves stuck and they do not know what to do.

Living without health insurance does remove a monthly payment, but leaves room for lots of risks. With medical costs being a leading cause of bankruptcy, it often stressful when considering your options. Unfortunately, it doesn’t help that a good portion of graduates are joining many other Americans in unemployment.  The ideal situation would be to find a job with health benefits but with the struggling economy, those aren’t easy to get.

A great alternative to more expensive, long-term health care plans is short-term health insurance. With short-term health insurance, graduates can get the coverage they want at a price that they can afford.

But before selecting short-term health insurance consider a few tips that are just for college graduates.

According to HealthCare.gov – there are some essential tips to consider.  We put them in a top-10 list to help add to their advice and also make it easy to get the coverage you need.

  1. You may get coverage from your college or university.
  2. You may get insurance from your job, but if you don’t, you still have options for health coverage:
  3. If you are under 26, stay or get covered on a parent’s health insurance plan — even if you’re married, not living at home, financially independent, or have an offer of insurance through a job.
  4. Buy your own health insurance plan and compare individual alternatives
  5. Checkout Health Insurance Marketplace. If you’re just starting out and not making much money, you’ll probably qualify for savings — which may make your monthly health insurance bill less than your cell phone bill.
  6. Evaluate a “Catastrophic” health plan — an affordable way to protect yourself from worst-case scenarios.
  7. Evaluate individual and short-term medical insurance plans offered through GradGuard.
  8. Outside the yearly Open Enrollment Period, you can enroll only if you have a life change that qualifies you for a Special Enrollment Period. Turning 26 and dropping off a parent’s insurance plan, losing health insurance for any other reason, getting married, or having a baby are just a few changes that let you enroll in the off-season.
  9. Important: If you don’t have any health coverage you may have to pay a penalty. There’s no special exception for age or student status.
  10. Get coverage through Medicaid or CHIP
Health Uncategorized

72% of College Students and Recent Grads Have Challenges Finding Affordable Health Insurance

June 21, 2017

Transitions from both high school and college make it necessary to evaluate your health insurance.  It can be confusing to college students and young adults.  Today, new research indicates that finding affordable health insurance appears to be a large and immediate problem.

We are pleased to see AgileHealthInsurance.com investing in research that helps to demonstrate the challenges facing college students and new graduates in finding affordable health insurance.  The results of a nationwide poll revealed the extent to which affordable coverage is a challenge for college students and grads this time of year. With the advent of summer, maintaining affordable health insurance is a major concern for college students who lack year-round coverage through their school or coverage under their parents’ health plan. Likewise, recent college graduates without a job can face a similar predicament.

The poll asked, “For any college students or recent grads in your family, is finding affordable health insurance a challenge?” Respondents had the option of selecting one of the following answers: “Yes, high premiums make it hard,” “Yes, high out-of-pocket costs make it hard,” “Yes, it is hard to find for other reasons,” “No, finding affordable insurance isn’t hard,” or “My family doesn’t have a student or grad.”

Of poll respondents with a college student or recent graduate in the family, 72 percent indicated that finding affordable coverage was difficult. Premiums were the most common impediment to affordability, with 40 percent of student/graduate families answering “Yes, high premiums make it hard.” Half as many (20 percent) attributed affordability problems to high out-of-pocket costs. Another 12 percent of the student/graduate families had other unspecified reasons that health insurance affordability was a problem.

“These ‘unspecified problems’ can include an ineligibility for premium subsidies on exchange health plans due to the student’s tax return status,” said John Fees, co-founder of GradGuard, an authority on protecting the investment of college students and their families. “If a student is claimed by his or her parents as a dependent, then the parents’ household income, including but not limited to the student’s income, decides the student’s eligibility for premium subsidies under the Affordable Care Act.”

“We were very alarmed to learn of the high percentage of students and graduates having a hard time finding affordable health care coverage,” said Bruce Telkamp, founder and CEO of AgileHealthInsurance.com. “While this is a big concern, in most cases we see it as a consumer education problem rather than a product availability problem. Short-term health insurance plans are available to students in about four dozen states, and their inexpensive premiums can satisfy the affordability needs of most students. Additionally, the vast majority of students and graduates have no trouble meeting the application requirements to obtain coverage.”

It is important to note that not all college students and graduates experienced problems with finding affordable health coverage; 28 percent indicated that finding affordable health insurance was not difficult for their students or recent graduates. For students under age 26 whose parents have health insurance coverage, there is the option to join their parents’ health plans. Additionally, students attending colleges where health coverage is required and paid for through a student fee may by able to use financial aid or a student loan to cover the fee.

“Unfortunately many college students and new graduates are under great financial stress due to the cost of college and student loan payments, but they should not be tempted to see medical coverage as a non-essential luxury,” Fees said. “Given this situation, students and parents will benefit from understanding the practical value of short-term health plans given their inexpensive price point, broad benefits and wide doctor coverage which can be a feasible option to keeping this group from joining the ranks of the uninsured.”

Results are based on 2,626 responses to a nationwide survey conducted from June 2, 2017, to June 4, 2017. Demographic inferencing and methodology to acquire survey respondents who approximate national statistics on age, gender, income and region was performed by Google-administered technology. Race, education and health insurance status were not examined. Margin of error across all survey responses (including “My family doesn’t have a student or grad”) is estimated at +1.7 percent/-1.8 percent.

The survey methodology and complete findings can be reviewed in the AgileHealthInsurance.com report, “Poll: 72% of College Students & Recent Grads Have Challenges Finding Affordable Health Insurance.”