College Student Health Insurance Options

Sue has a 21-year-old niece in college. She's living with Sue and her husband and has no health insurance. What's the best way to find health insurance for a college student?

QUESTION: Sue in Baltimore has a 21-year-old niece in college. She’s living with Sue and her husband and has no health insurance. What’s the best way to find health insurance for a college student?

ANSWER: Usually, through the college, they can be good, but most of them aren’t. Get a look at it and see what it actually covers. Typically, just an individual policy with a very large deductible … If a 21-year-old has a $5,000 event, they can recover from that. It’s the $500,000 event they can’t. A huge deductible, major-medical-only policy is all she can afford, and I don’t know what that would run in Maryland. But somebody like BlueCross BlueShield or call an insurance broker who represents several different lines, and ask them about the cheapest way to get basic major medical coverage with a high deductible. But this is not going to cover a doctor’s visit. Maryland is higher on a lot of things, so I don’t know how much it will be.

When you’re buying insurance, I love working with a broker. That way, they don’t work for just one company. They shop among several different companies and get you the best deal. You can find some of those at daveramsey.com. We’ve got some ELPs who are health insurance people. They can shop that for you and just kind of teach you about where the cost cutting is, whether it’s the deductible or the copay. An HSA is another way to get at it. That’s a high deductible, but it’s also sometimes as much as 30% cheaper. Check into HSAs and high-deductible major medical plans for her. It could run up to $200. That sounds a little high for a single person at 21. For the rest of us, it’s a great deal. Just do some more shopping and gathering of information, then try to get her some basic coverage in place. That’s a really good idea.