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Health Insurance Coverage Options for College Students

When a student goes off to school, getting hurt and paying for medical bills should be the least of their worries. However, accidents and illness never strike at convenient times. Luckily, specific health insurance plans are designed for many types of students, such as college and international students, graduate students, and students over 26, to help protect them from expensive medical bills.1

Student health insurance can really help those at the university level. Some universities require college students to have health insurance, but if they are covered by a parent’s plan they may not have to enroll. If you are an international college student, your health insurance eligibility depends on the type of visa you have.2 And if you’re over 26, you can purchase a health insurance plan yourself. We recommend chatting with a school counselor to understand requirements best.

If you are in high school or elementary school, health insurance for children may be a better route. It’s important to note that Aflac doesn’t offer full-coverage health insurance for students, but we do offer supplemental insurance that works with existing plans to help with out-of-pocket expenses. Read on to learn how health insurance for college students works and some types of insurance plans for students.

Do college students need health insurance?

It’s important for college students to have health insurance, as being covered can financially protect you in case of unforeseen medical expenses. Health insurance can also allow you to pay less in out-of-pocket expenses for in-network health care.

Some schools will require college students to have health insurance to enroll into the program.2 However, this depends on the university.

International student health insurance can also be helpful for those traveling to America, as the U.S. does not have universal health care. Accessibility may depend on the visa held by the international student and the state they are studying in.2

If you’re a college or graduate student, you may be able to get coverage through your parent’s health insurance plan or through the school. And if you’re over the age of 26, you may purchase a health insurance plan on your own.

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Types of student health insurance plans

There are a few different ways you can go about getting health insurance for college and graduate students:

  • College health insurance plans: At some institutions, you can get student health insurance through your campus at an affordable rate. This depends on the school you are attending and what they have to offer. Annual costs can range from $2,000 to $4,000.3 Many schools also offer health insurance options to graduate students. We recommend chatting with an advisor to see what your student health insurance options are.
  • Parent’s employer health insurance plans: If one of your parents has a health insurance plan, you may be able to be added to their plan. The general rule of thumb is that children can stay on their parent’s health insurance until they are 26 years old.3
  • State health insurance plans: Each state offers a health insurance exchange for college or graduate students unable to get insurance through work or their parents. Essentially, the exchange is a marketplace where consumers can buy health insurance.4 When it comes to health insurance for college students with no income, Medicaid may be a good option.

How health insurance for college students works

Student health insurance works the same way as traditional health insurance. In exchange for premium payments, college students and graduate students get certain benefits that help bring the cost of medical care down.5 You may have to meet a deductible or set dollar value toward medical services before benefits kick in.5

With student health insurance, you also may receive copays and coinsurance or discounts on certain doctor's appointments, prescriptions and treatments.5 Each plan has a different set of rules and limitations, so we recommend looking at your health insurance options closely.

What does health insurance for college students and graduate students cover?

Student health insurance may have similar coverage to traditional health insurance plans. College students may be able to expect coverage for:

  • Mental health care3
  • Doctor and hospital visits
  • Prescription medications
  • Medical treatments and devices6

We strongly recommend you look at the details of each health insurance plan you are considering, as coverage vastly varies from plan to plan.

Aflac supplemental insurance can work with your student health insurance

Whether you’re a college student or graduate student, we sincerely hope you can find the student health insurance coverage you need to thrive while in school. If you find a plan that works with your budget but still leaves you with major medical expenses expected to be paid out-of-pocket, Aflac supplemental insurance may be able to help. We work with your primary health insurance plan to help offset hefty medical costs.

Still have questions?

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