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When it comes to health insurance for college students, there are plenty of options available, each with varying plan costs and benefits that can be tailored to fit unique situations and needs.

Some of the best health insurance options for college students include plans offered by Blue Cross Blue Shield, UnitedHealthcare, Everest, and Compass.

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These companies are known for providing affordable and comprehensive coverage, making them suitable choices for students with specific requirements.

Additionally, many schools offer student health coverage, and students can also explore options through the Health Insurance Marketplace, which may qualify them to receive financial assistance from the government.

Best Health Insurance For College Students

Blue Cross Blue Shield

Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) is a large network of health insurance companies in the United States.

They offer a variety of student health insurance plans that can be a good option for college students.

Here are some things to consider when choosing a BCBS student health insurance plan:

  • Coverage: Make sure the plan covers the services you need, such as doctor visits, preventive care, hospitalization, and mental health care.
  • Network: Choose a plan with a network of providers in your area. This will help you save money on out-of-pocket costs.
  • Cost: Compare the premiums, deductibles, and copays of different plans to find one that fits your budget.
  • Other factors: Consider other factors, such as whether the plan covers telehealth visits and prescription drugs.

Here are some of the advantages of choosing a BCBS student health insurance plan:

  • Large network: BCBS has a large network of providers, so you’re likely to find a doctor or hospital in your area that accepts your insurance.
  • Financial assistance: BCBS offers financial assistance programs to help students afford their premiums.
  • Preventive care: Many BCBS plans cover preventive care services, such as immunizations and screenings, at no cost to you.
  • Convenience: Many BCBS plans offer online tools and resources to help you manage your health care.

Here are some of the disadvantages of choosing a BCBS student health insurance plan:

  • Cost: BCBS plans can be expensive, especially if you don’t qualify for financial assistance.
  • Coverage: Some BCBS plans have limited coverage for certain services, such as mental health care.
  • Network: The BCBS network may not be as large as the networks of some other insurance companies.

Overall, BCBS student health insurance plans can be a good option for college students. However, it’s important to compare different plans and choose one that meets your individual needs and budget.

Oscar

Oscar Health Insurance offers individual plans that may be suitable for some college students depending on their specific needs and location.

Pros for College Students:

  • Affordable options: Oscar generally offers lower premiums compared to some competitors, especially for younger and healthy individuals. This can be appealing to budget-conscious students.
  • Telehealth: Oscar prioritizes telehealth, offering virtual visits with doctors for convenient and accessible care. This can be particularly useful for students with busy schedules or limited access to in-person providers.
  • Technology-focused: Oscar has a user-friendly app and online platform for managing your plan, claims, and care navigation. This can be helpful for tech-savvy students who prefer digital solutions.
  • Limited network: Oscar’s network of providers is smaller than some larger insurance companies like BCBS. However, they focus on building relationships with high-quality providers, which can be a benefit for students seeking personalized care.

Cons for College Students:

  • Limited availability: Oscar currently only operates in specific states and regions, so availability for college students will depend on their location.
  • HMO plans only: Oscar currently only offers HMO plans, which require you to choose a primary care physician within their network for referrals to specialists. This might not be ideal for students who prefer more flexibility in choosing providers.
  • Limited student-specific features: Oscar doesn’t offer any specific discounts or features tailored to college students compared to some competitors.

Overall:

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  • Live in an area where Oscar operates.
  • Are primarily healthy and don’t need frequent specialist care.
  • Prefer affordable premiums and prioritize telehealth options.
  • Are comfortable navigating healthcare through a digital platform.

However, it’s important to compare Oscar with other options, including your school’s student health insurance plan, to see which best fits your specific needs and budget.

CVS/Aetna

Unfortunately, CVS/Aetna no longer offers a standalone student health insurance program. In 2022, Aetna partnered with CVS Health to offer individual and family plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

However, there are other options available for college students seeking health insurance:

1. School-sponsored health insurance: Most colleges and universities offer their student health insurance plans. These plans are often tailored to meet the needs of students and can be a good option if you’re looking for affordable coverage with a network of providers near campus. Be sure to check with your school’s health services department for more information about their plan and if it’s mandatory for your enrollment.

2. Individual plans on the ACA marketplace: You can compare and purchase individual health insurance plans through your state’s ACA marketplace. These plans are required to cover essential health benefits and offer financial assistance based on your income. When browsing plans, check specific features like network availability near your school, coverage for mental health services, and telehealth options.

3. Other national insurance companies: Several national insurance companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield, UnitedHealthcare, and Cigna offer individual plans that might be suitable for college students. Consider factors like premiums, network coverage, and student-specific discounts when comparing different plans.

4. Short-term health insurance: Although not ideal for long-term coverage, short-term health insurance plans can be an option for students with specific needs, like covering a gap between semesters or while waiting for another plan to start. Remember, these plans typically have limitations and may not be comprehensive coverage.

Here are some resources to help you find the best option:

  • Your school’s health services department: Contact them for information about their student health insurance plan and enrollment details.
  • Healthcare.gov: This website provides information about the ACA marketplace and helps you compare individual health insurance plans in your state.
  • National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU): This organization can connect you with a licensed health insurance agent who can help you choose the right plan for your needs.

Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente (KP) can be a good option for college students seeking health insurance, depending on several factors like location, budget, and individual needs.

Pros:

  • Large network: KP has a vast network of hospitals, clinics, and providers across several regions in the US. This ensures easy access to in-network care, potentially reducing costs.
  • Integrated care: KP emphasizes coordinated care, where your primary care physician manages your overall health and coordinates referrals to specialists within the network, offering a seamless experience.
  • Preventive care focus: KP prioritizes preventive care, covering various preventive services like immunizations, screenings, and wellness programs at little to no cost, promoting long-term health.
  • Telehealth: KP offers convenient telehealth options for virtual consultations with doctors, suitable for busy students or those with limited mobility.
  • Affordability: Depending on your location and chosen plan, KP might offer competitive premiums and affordable copays compared to other insurance companies.

Cons:

  • Limited availability: KP operates only in specific regions, so its availability for college students depends on their location. Check if your college’s area falls within its service area.
  • HMO plans only: Currently, KP primarily offers HMO plans, requiring you to choose a primary care physician within their network for referrals. This might limit flexibility for students preferring wider provider choice.
  • Limited student-specific features: Unlike some competitors, KP doesn’t currently offer specific discounts or features tailored to college students.

Things to consider before choosing KP:

  • Network coverage: Ensure KP’s network covers your college area and preferred healthcare providers.
  • Plan options: Explore different KP plans to find one that fits your budget and coverage needs. Some plans might cater to specific needs like mental health services or telehealth utilization.
  • Compare with other options: Consider alternatives like your school’s health insurance plan, individual plans on the ACA marketplace, or other national insurance companies to compare features, costs, and network coverage.
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