Student Health Insurance FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions: College Students and Health Insurance
Why do I need insurance if I’m healthy?
A recent report released by the Government Accounting Office revealed that roughly 1.7 million traditional age college students are uninsured in the United States. It's a disturbing statistic, considering that young Americans – while tending to be healthier – are among the group of Americans also more likely to end up in the emergency room.
What will it cost me to be uninsured?
In the short term, you avoid monthly premiums. But, you may face fines in your tax return. The Government Accounting Office report showed that in 2005, uninsured students amassed between $120 million and $255 million in uncompensated, non-injury-related medical expenses. Equally disturbing: recent reports revealing that nearly two-thirds of young uninsured adults don't seek treatment because it is too expensive. In the Chicago metro area, an average emergency room visit has been estimated at $2000 - $5000.
What are my options?
Group Plans – Colleges, Universities, Public Schools, Credit Unions, AARP and other associations offer group health insurance plans. These plans are usually designed to balance affordability with coverage. They will generally be more affordable than buying similar coverage as an individual. However, it’s important to understand the limits of the coverage offered.
Employer Group Major Medical (also called Comprehensive or Traditional) – these plans are usually offered by employers and the employer and employee share the cost of the insurance. Usually, employers also offer coverage for their employee’s family, including children up through age 26. Every plan varies, but because a large group is enrolled, it can be more affordable, and cover more, with more choice about which doctors and hospitals you can use. If you are studying away from home, out of state or abroad, finding medical providers, (particularly specialists) near your school who are ‘in network’ and thus more affordable can be difficult or sometimes impossible.
Employers may also offer HMO Insurance which is often lower in price. HMO Insurance may also be offered to employee’s families. The major difference with HMO insurance is that you would have less (or nothing) to pay at the time of care and that you are required to enroll with your primary doctor who is in charge of all of your care. Not all doctors or hospitals are ‘on the panel’ of every HMO, so your choices can be limited. The HMO or your doctor will have to approve all but emergency care. When you are in college away from home, you may have to go to special efforts to get access to doctors near school.
Individual or Private Plans – Individual plans are just that, health insurance purchased for just you. Because you aren’t automatically eligible, as you would be as a part of an employee pool, or other group, you will have to apply throughwww.healthcare.gov or a private broker. If you are comfortable with high out of pocket co-pays or deductibles (your share of the cost of healthcare) you can save on premiums. You should understand the limits and exclusions to these policies, too.
State Group Plans - Illinois has participated in the federal expansion of Medicaid. Now children and adults up to the age of 64 who are low income can be covered by Medicaid as of January 2014. If you were on Kids Care, this is a good option for you. If you have a low income (under $15,000 for a household of one) you may be eligible. Contact DU's Wellness Center for more information and a referral to a Medicaid clinic.
Accident and Injury “health” insurance actually only covers accidents and injuries up to $15,000. So, for example, it would cover injuries sustained if you fell down the stairs and broke a leg, but not if you caught pneumonia and became ill. Dominican provides such a plan as part of tuition but it does not meet Dominican's health insurance coverage requirement. .
Travel Insurance and Temporary Insurance - Travel insurance and Temporary Insurance often has limits to its benefits and covers only a specific time period for the policy and a limited time period afterwards. It’s affordable and it does cover you when you are away from your usual providers.
Is Health insurance mandatory at Dominican?
No. If you don't have insurance and need help getting insurance contact the AIP, at 1-800-452-5772. You can also contact the Wellness Center. They can assist you in finding quality and affordable coverage.
Does Dominican offer Health Insurance?
At this time, only temporary plans are available to students studying on a visa or who are not documented. We were not able to design and get a quote on a plan that was more affordable than individual coverage. Students should get an individual plan if they are not insured.
What about Health Reform?
Passage of health reform legislation this year ensured that – starting September 23, 2010 – families will be able to keep students on their coverage until the student's 27th birthday. However, there may be additional charges and students may also be dropped from their parents’ coverage if they marry. There are no longer "caps" or limits to what insurance will cover. Enrollment in insurance and your claims can no longer be denied because of pre-existing conditions. Preventive care, like annual exams and screenings are covered with no out of pocket costs for patients; this means no copay and no deductible. And most importantly, Medicaid expansions have been offered and accepted her in Illinois, so people with very low incomes can have health coverage for free. For more information, go to www.healthcare.gov.
As always, no matter what type of insurance you choose, be a responsible consumer. Make sure you understand what you are purchasing and that you closely review the benefits and limitations.
You can get more information from the Wellness Center at Dominican University.