Browsing Tag

student health insurance


Student Health Insurance Review by the Wall Street Journal

December 17, 2021
Wall Street Journal Student Health Care Review

The September 26th edition of the Wall Street Journal published an article titled  “How College Health Plans Are Failing Students”. The article written by Jessical Silver-Greenberg and Mary Pilon, is comprehensive in its discussion of the limits of many school sponsored student health plans. However, it failed to address just how few affordable choices students have if the school plan does not meet their needs.

Unlike permanent health insurance, these Student Health Plans are designed for students and often times schools are trying to balance affordability with coverage needed at that particular life stage.   Schools and insurers alike should be creating more choice for students so they can find the right plan to meet their needs while making certain all options provide acceptable standards of coverage.

Please read the entire article on or to see some of the highlights included here:

Changing Regulations:

The new health care legislation has immediate and potentially long term consequences for college students.

“On Thursday, (blog note – September 23rd) the first big pieces of the new health-care overhaul took effect. Among other things, the rules mandate that insurance companies offer coverage to adult children until the age of 26 and devote at least 80% of their revenue to health-care costs.   But one major player was notably absent from these new rule changes: colleges. They have managed to sidestep, at least for now, the regulatory clampdown that has sent hospitals, insurers and corporations scrambling.   How’d they pull it off? Since student plans for the school year were negotiated before Sept. 23, they aren’t subject to the regulations this year.

The health-care overhaul has major implications for young adults and their parents. For the first time, parents will have the choice of keeping their graduate-student children on their corporate insurance plans or opting for cheaper college plans.

There is broad consensus that, as a group, college health-insurance plans rank among the worst in the nation for consumers. Many college plans come with remarkably low benefit ceilings—in some cases as little as $2,500.    Others limit areas of coverage, such as preventative services and chemotherapy.

The upshot: Students are often much less insured than they think they are. In extreme cases high-school seniors with health issues might be advised to consider a college’s health plan before attending.

The college health-care system is a hodgepodge of school plans and private insurance. According to the Government Accountability Office, more than half of the nation’s colleges offer school-sponsored plans. All told, about 80% of college students, nearly 7 million people, are covered by private or public health insurance.…

Most schools aim to provide the best care for the lowest cost. Students tend to be healthier than the general population, so school plans don’t need the safety nets found in adult plans. “

Change in Status of Group Plans?

The WSJ article goes on to discuss the debate surrounding how the new health care legislation applies to college sponsored plans.

“The American College Health Association “is supporting regulatory clarification that would allow student plans to preserve the grouplike status that is vital to providing lower cost coverage to students,” says Jake Baggott, ACHA’s advocacy coalition chair. Dr. Turner, ACHA’s president until June, says the spirit of his conversation with the White House was that “they would be happy to include in the regulations the necessary language to assure preservation of the plans.”

Insurers seem to be confident they will get their way. According to three people familiar with the matter, Aetna has told colleges that they have nothing to worry about because their plans will be exempted. Aetna says it never conveyed that message to its members. “We expect that all student plans that wish to be credible will comply with minimum coverage requirements as soon as possible,” says Ethan Slavin, a spokesman for the insurer.  Good insurance plans are marked by a few elements, among them benefit ceilings of at least $250,000, generous prescription drug plans and emergency room coverage. According to the GAO, more than half of all school plans have ceilings of less than $30,000.

Parents and students can get the most for their money by carefully examining school plans before signing up. Health-care planning should come long before enrollment, says James A. Boyle, president of the College Parents of America, a Virginia-based nonprofit.”

Questions to Ask?

“Anyone considering a school plan should ask a number of questions, say experts:

• What is the maximum benefit for the policy?

• Are prescriptions and mental health services included?

• What happens to coverage if you leave school, go abroad or graduate?

• What is the loss ratio?

• Do any on-campus services, such as checkups or flu shots, overlap with existing coverage?

Parents who are considering keeping their child on their personal insurance should ask their benefits representative or insurer about how coverage will be carried over on campus and off—especially at schools far from home. (This also applies to graduate students and to adult children under age 26.) They should also be ready to sign a waiver with the school so they’re not charged for automatic enrollment in a campus policy.

If, after getting all these answers, both the employer and school insurance options seem unappealing, parents should consider using a site like, which allows for comparison browsing among 10,000 plans from 180 carriers.  (Blog Note – eHealth provides the GradGuard Student Health Plan as its national alternative for students.)



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 Other

6 Things You Might Not Know About Mono

May 27, 2020

Mononucleosis, more commonly known as “Mono” is relatively common among college students. It is caused by the spreading of the Epstein-Barr virus through saliva, mucus, and sometimes even tears. Many call Mono “the kissing disease”, because it is notoriously spread through kissing, but here are some facts you might not know about the disease.

Continue Reading

Other Student Life

Don’t Expect Your Homeowners Insurance or University to Replace a Stolen Computer or Backpack

March 7, 2019

As nearly 3 million new college students and their families prepare to start college this year, now is an excellent time for parents and students to examine important financial issues that can impact the entire family.


Students living independently for the first time may mistakenly believe that their parents’ homeowners insurance will protect them.   There may be coverage for students who live on campus but in many cases, homeowners insurance contains high deductibles or eligibility requirements that may exclude certain claims, ultimately making it insufficient or inadequate for college students and their families.

Rental housing expert, Ben Hoglund, CPM, believes that it is incumbent upon student housing providers to educate their residents on the importance of adequate renters insurance protection. “They aren’t going to learn that in class,” proclaimed Hoglund.

Hoglund referenced a survey he conducted titled “Campus Housing Risk Mitigation Study” in which he researched the types, causes and monetary impact of property damage occurring on college campuses across the United States. The study also addressed student and housing provider awareness of available insurance products to mitigate these risks.

The findings show that:

  • 33% of respondents indicated that it is not their policy to require reimbursement for resident-caused fire or property damage in excess of $5,000.
  • Campus policies on required property insurance vary, with many schools having no requirement with regard to renters insurance.
  • 24% of respondents were not aware that some renters insurance products do not include both personal property and liability protections.
  • A majority of respondents estimated that less than 60% of their student residents are aware that they can be held financially responsible for damage to university property for which they are at fault. Vandalism, bicycle theft, and electronics theft are the most reported personal property losses by campus residents.

Due to higher insurance deductibles and low collection rates on resident damages, private sector housing providers have become proactive in their efforts to mitigate property financial losses caused by resident carelessness and negligence.

GradGuard offers renters insurance that covers personal property loss in the case of fire, certain natural disasters, theft, and vandalism, and provides personal liability protection for bodily injuries to another person or for damages to another person’s property if an incident occurs within the rented residence or elsewhere.  Check your policy for complete details and limitations, but in all cases get protected.

Adulting Other

Three Assumptions That Can Cost College Families

August 9, 2018

As nearly 3 million new college students and their families prepare to start college this year, now is an excellent time for parents and students to examine important financial issues that can impact the entire family. The cost of college is frequently among the largest investments a family and student make.

As a result, it is important to prepare for and reduce the potential and unintended costs surrounding college life.  A key place to start is to evaluate your assumptions about college life and explore alternatives for how you can protect your investment in a college education.

1. My child’s health insurance is covered by his school

Some schools offer health insurance, others do not. First, you should check to see if your student is covered by your family health insurance plan. Be sure to verify what the college’s coverage requirements are and be sure to check the bursar’s statement bill to see if you have been billed for health insurance.

If you have been billed for student health insurance by your college, but sure to let them know if you have coverage so you can “waive” the coverage. 

If you do not waive the coverage, your student will be billed for health insurance.

2. Campus housing will pay for my student’s damaged or stolen property

There are an average of 24,254 annual burglaries reported on college campuses and an average of 2,129 annual fires reported in on-campus student housing.   Parents are smart to review their home insurance policies closely for certain limitations. Most policies provide some coverage for students away at college (often up to 10% of the policy limits) but may limit that coverage to full time or on-campus students only. Additionally, filing small claims against a home policy may result in higher premiums or be subjected to high deductibles.

If you can’t afford to replace your student’s stolen or damaged property (like a backpack), then purchasing renters insurance for about fifty cents a day is a smart idea. 

GradGuard’s renter’s insurance is the only policy that includes an exclusive student endorsement that provides coverage designed for college life.

3. If my child gets sick or injured, the college will refund tuition and fees

Most colleges do not provide a complete refund to students who are forced to withdraw mid-term that is a result of a medical injury or illness. In fact, only 16% of schools surveyed in 2017 reported that they provide a refund for tuition.  All virtually all schools will not provide a refund for academic fees or room and board.  hough some schools may provide a partial refund for tuition up through the fifth week of school, nearly all schools do not refund the costs beyond tuition such as books and academic fees. As a result, tuition insurance is a smart alternative to protect your college investment from a potential loss.

If you can’t afford the cost of an extra semester, then tuition insurance is a smart idea.  Just remember that tuition insurance must be purchased prior to the first day of classes.

Remember that the best way to manage risks facing your student and the investment you are making in college is to be aware of where your student may be vulnerable.  Asking the right questions and considering how to protect yourself from an unexpected financial loss can help your student stay focused on their goal of college graduation.

Other Safety Transition

Packing for College – Some items Parents Shouldn’t Forget that don’t require any room!

August 8, 2017

Your car and student bags are likely overflowing, but here are a few vital things that college parents should remember that don’t require extra room.

Five additional items that you must not forget:

1) Create a personal file.While getting their belongings together, students should set up a file of key personal information, including a copy of their driver’s license, insurance cards, Social Security card, debit and credit cards and immunization records. Using a digital tool such as Evernote can be a smart idea as it will allow you to have all the information you need at your finger tips and can be easily shared.  A passport or a copy of one also is useful, both for travel and to confirm citizenship if you apply for a job.

2) Complete the FERPA form – before leaving your student at college be sure to discuss your expectations for how you can support their education and how you will be able to help them during a crisis.  Without your student providing permission, you will not have access to their university records.  Most colleges provide a form to complete during orientation or within the student account or you can also use the FERPA authorization form provided through College Parents of America.

3) Purchase at least some Tuition Insurance.  Starting at $29.95 for $2,500 of coverage per term tuition insurance is an affordable way to protect your investment in college.   It is vital to understand your college refund policy.   Most colleges don’t refund money after day 25 – even for illness, injury or disability – so you could be out thousands of dollars.   Tuition insurance may not be something you needed in high school or something you have even heard of, but most students would benefit by having at least a minimum of $5,000 of annual college refund insurance. 

4) Renters Insurance. “Don’t forget that colleges are not likely to replace stolen or damaged property of your student.  In addition, you may or may not have coverage for your student within your homeowner’s insurance policy which normally has limits of coverage including the full-time status of your student and up to 10% of your property coverage.  Expensive items like that new computer may not be fully covered; if you are worried about replacing it, then be sure to purchase renters insurance which costs typically less than fifty cents a day.  For protecting your stuff consider a college specific renters insurance plan such as those offered through GradGuard – which includes worldwide property coverage, replacement level coverage, and personal liability coverage.

5) Health Insurance.  Though you are not likely to forget it, we recommend that college families consider your alternatives when it comes to student health insurance.  See this useful and comprehensive article by The New York Times.   Your first choice is likely going to be your family policy.   If you are looking at buying your campus recommended plan, we suggest comparing the features and benefit levels.  If money is particularly tight and your student is in good health, then it is also possible to consider using a short-term medical plan while relying on the primary care services of the university health center.

Remember, that each of these tasks can be done before actually moving to campus, but purchasing tuition insurance must also be completed prior to the start of classes.   You can not purchase tuition insurance after the start of classes.

Health Other

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 – 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 Other

After College Health!

June 30, 2017

Graduating from college is a huge milestone, but the harsh reality of life will slap you in the face soon after!  Successfully Adulting is fun but is a process that social media today does not show. In high school, you didn’t have to worry about getting a job, finding an affordable place to live, and most importantly purchasing your own insurance.

Usually, companies offer some sort of health care benefits for their employees.  However, college graduates are struggling to find a stable job that utilizes their degree. Employers are starting to reduce health care benefits to cut company costs.  Health care is a national issue that is affecting every employed and unemployed individual.

Years ago, Congress passed COBRA  in order to aid workers who lose their health insurance benefits due to job loss.  This gives these individuals and their families an option to continue their current health benefits provided by their group health plan under certain circumstances.  COBRA can be beneficial for college graduates who were covered under their parent’s health insurance plan while in school.  If graduates opt to be covered under COBRA, premiums will probably be very costly. The good news is you can stay on your parent’s health insurance until you are twenty-six.  However if

However, if you are leaving are a recent college graduate who is in the process of finding a job, you may also benefit from short term medical insurance.  Short-term medical insurance can help you pay for medical expenses in case your suffer an accident, injury or illness.  This coverage may not help you pay for primary health coverage, but it will give you some peace of mind regarding those large medical expenses that could result from a medical emergency.  In all cases, make sure you have medical coverage to pay for the expenses required to restore your health in case of an unexpected health problem.



Health Other

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 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 “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 report, “Poll: 72% of College Students & Recent Grads Have Challenges Finding Affordable Health Insurance.”

Health Other

Short Term Medical Insurance Key for Graduates

July 28, 2016
insurance for new grads

In 2016, more than 1.8 million college graduates often find themselves for the first time considering their health insurance needs.  College graduation is a life event that makes young adults and families evaluate how they will pay for medical costs and also how to comply with federal requirements to be insured.

One practical alternative for young adults is to evaluate the practical approach of getting coverage through Short Term Medical Insurance.  Short term medical insurance can be an affordable alternative particularly if you fit the following circumstances.

  • I am 26 and no longer covered under my parent’s health plan
  • I am no longer covered under my student health plan2015-grad-insurance-tips
  • I am seeking coverage until Open Enrollment benefits begin
  • I am employed and waiting for group coverage to begin
  • I am looking for a job
  • I am between jobs
  • I am determining my next steps

Graduates who are currently looking for employment may also consider purchasing an individual short-term medical policy. The short term policies may be purchased for as little as 30 days up to a year in some states.

These policies are great for healthy grads looking for financial protection in the case of a medical emergency. To find out more about short term medical insurance or to get a quick free quote go to GradGuard.