It's easy to assume that the health insurance offered by your university is the best you can get. Yet, too often, this simply isn't the case. The best health insurance plan for a university is not always the best plan for students. What's the difference? Universities like to be able to market their health insurance provider as affordable, even if the insurance coverage is woefully inadequate and completely inequitable based on collected premiums. Take a look at the following underlying factors; then ask yourself if it isn't time to get an independent quote for your student health insurance.
Student Health Centers
Most universities offer some form of health clinic: It's much harder to sell parents on the idea of sending their kids to university without this facility. These clinics are usually funded through some form of student fees. Yes, these facilities can be frustrating with long waits and volunteer staff. Students are frequently put-off by persistent interrogation about their sexual history when seeking treatment for unrelated afflictions such as sinus problems or poison ivy. Nevertheless, these student health centers are often the best thing university healthcare has going for it. By servicing basic medical needs, more efficient healthcare is delivered, creating an avenue for preventative measures and lower major medical costs. Thus, student health centers frequently benefit students, universities, and health insurance companies.
College Student Health Insurance Mandates
More and more universities are requiring their students to carry health insurance, either through university-negotiated plans or on their own. Most universities justify this mandate by arguing that healthy students perform better academically. This is true and likely part of universities' motivation, but it's also true these universities can negotiate better rates with insurance companies when they enact a student health insurance mandate. Fortunately, many students are eligible to remain on their parents' health insurance and most elect to do so. The rest of the student body must bite the bullet, but you still can't assume that these newly negotiated rates represent the best insurance for you.
How to Shop for the Best College Student Health Insurance Quotes
Choosing health insurance may be complicated, but it's not rocket science nor is it even as convoluted as next week's organic chemistry final. Fill out a quick and easy online form, and NetQuote will match you to companies that offer college student health insurance in your location. Here are the specific details you should find out about your university-sponsored health insurance and plans available on the private market. Talk to the insurance agents about this information, and you may quickly discover your current college student health insurance isn't earning a passing grade.
- Return on Premiums Paid: This is simply the percentage of premiums paid back to customers vs. the percentage of premiums consumed by administrative costs and profits. Anything less than a 75% return on paid premiums is a rip-off.
- Caps and Reimbursements: Many companies count on youth being cavalier about their health and potential medical costs. Health insurance plans with caps of $30,000 or less or incredibly low reimbursement rates for major medical costs don't adequately protect your from financial calamity.
- Exclusions and Particulars: The notion that your college student health insurance is going to cover heart disease and cancer, but not appendicitis, is insane but not unheard of. Health insurance companies realize what health costs are most likely to spike in younger populations and look for subtle ways to cap these expenses, even though they are the ones most needed by the average college student.
Insuring large swaths of college students has so many inherent advantages for health insurance companies that they are able to offer premiums that appear affordable without actually delivering good insurance value. Of course, students in states with a less competitive health insurance market may not have many good alternatives, either. Sadly, it's entirely possible that your university-endorsed health insurance is the best deal available and ripping you off at the same time. But you can't know, one way or the other, until you've solicited quotes from the health insurance companies in your area.