Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Be Careful about Student Health Insurance

By Shu Zheng

Every college student needs a health insurance plan. However, it is difficult to choose a good one or a right one. Usually, due to lack of information, many students take those insurance plans recommended by their schools. In fact, the insurance plans that colleges recommend are not always the best one. The reason is that these plans reimburse only up to a very limited amount that may not even sufficient to cover student’s hospital and doctor bills.

There are some facts you need to know about college health plans:
· Colleges and universities sometimes recommend students to buy a certain health plans due to their financial connection with the insurance companies. These plans are not the best for students’ benefits
· A recent investigation by a New York attorney Cuomo shows that institutions such as Cornell, Georgetown Universities, Sarah Lawrence Colleges and several campuses of SUNY may have financial ties to student health insurers.
· Low maximums as rare disease or health accidence may be very expensive
· A bad deal can be any premium returned to customers vs. profit and administrative costs lower than 75%
· Sometimes it is better to choose plans with higher deductible, but cover much more

So before you make a choice on purchasing college health plan, see if you have any other option rather than the one school recommend. Most parents’ employee-sponsored group health insurance can cover their children up until they are between 20 to 24 years old. If this option is not available for you and you want to buy through school, you should test the plans before you buy:
· Does the plan have HMO (health maintenance organization), or can you use any provider?
· Does the plan cover emergency room visit without any approval?
· What needs to be done to ensure coverage if there is an emergency?
· Is there coverage available during vacation and school breaks?
· Which campus health clinic service is free or cheap?


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