Health insurance a significant expense for college students

A recent Wall Street Journal article detailed college students' health insurance options, concluding that insurance plans offered through schools are a good value - but they are still expensive.

Premiums cost, on average, $1,631 a year for public university students and $1,881 a year for private school attendees, according a survey by Hodgkins Beckley Consulting.

Parents' employer-sponsored health plans allow dependents to retain coverage into their early- or mid-twenties; New York signed a law in September allowing dependents to stay covered until they turn 30. But, says College Parents for America president Jim Boyle in an interview with the Columbia University Spectator, "the vast majority of campus health centers do not accept outside health insurance."

Sixty-seven percent of college students are covered by their parents' insurance, but those that aren't can find a gap in coverage. Private insurance plans are much more expensive than the plans offered through schools; a third of graduates were uninsured at some point in their first year after college, a 2007 Commonwealth Fund report says.

Young people will be forced to carry health insurance in the future, pending the passage of health care legislation.

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Posted: November 6, 2009

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