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Got Coverage? Three options for ensuring your students have access to health insurance

Costs and Coverage, International Students, Risk Management, Student Affairs, Student Health

When it comes to student health insurance, one size does not fit all. Here are the three options you can use to offer your students a health insurance plan.

1. Coverage for Domestic and International students

The majority of colleges and universities offer a school-sponsored student health insurance plan to their international and domestic student that meets the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This is a great way to make sure all your students are covered. Young and healthy students may feel they do not need insurance, but our experience has taught us that no one is invincible. Illnesses and accidents can happen to anyone, at any time. Requiring your students to have health insurance and providing a plan is a step in the right direction in keeping your students healthy and in school.

2. International Only

Some schools may opt for an international-only plan. This plan would only cover international students and would not meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). To be ACA compliant, a plan must offer covered persons an Unlimited Benefit Maximum meaning that the carrier cannot stop paying claims after they exceed a certain limit. Since ACA compliant plans are required to offer certain benefits, they provide a higher level of coverage than non-compliant plans. Consequently, compliant plans are more expensive. International only plans can be a good option to provide some level of coverage to international students at a low cost.

3. Individual Marketplace

Some schools do not offer a plan at all. In many cases, this is because the number of students enrolled in the health insurance plan is so low that some carriers are unable to provide the school with a plan, or the school does not have the resources to administer a plan. We see this option as a last resource and suggest you do your due diligence and research the options above before making a decision.

Schools that do not offer a school-sponsored plan can still provide students with access to coverage through a student-focused individual marketplace. Additionally, schools that only want to offer an international-only plan can provide a link to the students-focused international marketplace for their domestic students. Students can obtain coverage from a variety of carriers and take advantage of federal tax subsidies through this marketplace. This is a very simple option for schools who still want to offer a source for students to have coverage without the administration.

What’s the best option for your school?
If possible, offer a plan to both domestic and international students. This option gives your students coverage that can have higher benefits and lower costs than an individual plan or a parents’/spouses’ employer coverage. Another reason is that student health insurance premiums can be considered an education expense and, therefore, covered by student loans. This gives students who are not eligible to be on their parents plan and who are not financially capable of paying the premiums while in school an option for coverage.

Need help choosing a plan for your students? Contact us at [email protected] or 817-809-4700.