The New York Times wrote a helpful story for college families this summer on the topic of student health insurance.  The article is comprehensive and a must-read for all college families.   College Parents of America was pleased to be a resource for the writer –  

Ms. Rabin’s thoughtful article provides clarity to both college parents and their students.  “If you’re packing a child off to college this summer, the extra-long sheets and shower caddies can wait. Health insurance should be at the top of your to-do list.  Many private colleges and public universities require full-time residential students to have health insurance, and some aggressively market their own plans, automatically enrolling incoming students in their insurance plan and adding the premium — which can be several thousand dollars a year — to the tuition bill. If you don’t need it and want to get the charge removed, you must meet the college’s early and often rather arbitrary deadline for proving your child is adequately insured and obtaining a waiver. (This is not a one-and-done, by the way. You must obtain the waiver every year.) Policies vary by school.”

There is a lot there in that statement.  So much to consider.  We encourage you to read the entire article as it helps provide some insight into the complexity facing families.   But even after reading it and like so many college topics – it often can look clear as mud?

So we offer these three college student health tips for parents.

  1. Confirm what student health services are available to your student on campus?  
  2. Determine if you have been billed for a student health insurance plan.  If so – confirm if your family health coverage is sufficient (most likely it is) to satisfy the requirements of the school.
  3. Make a plan for an emergency health situation.  Specifically – discuss with your student what they will do if they become ill or injured.  Make sure your student has a health insurance card or take a picture of your family health insurance card so they have it with them on their phone.

Lastly – know that besides the health of your student, you should also be aware that your college or university is unlikely to provide a 100% refund if your student is forced to withdraw from college due to an illness or injury.  Be sure to know your school refund policy and to evaluate the value of tuition insurance for your family.

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