Student health plans mirror traditional health plans. They offer a network of providers and a list of covered procedures. Plans of this nature are available to colleges, universities and prep schools. Students in grades K through 12 are eligible for student health plans. Most plans are offered by the school and administered by an insurance agency (see Resources below).
Student health plans work in a variety of models. Insurance companies can work with the school's existing health program to cover services. Students can also seek services outside of the network given for the plan at a slightly higher cost. For some plans, no referral is required and students may go directly to specialists.
The ultimate benefit for student plans is peace of mind for the parents. They can feel confident that their student has guaranteed coverage up to a set maximum amount. As with most insurance plans, student health plans have wellness programs that promote the prevention of serious illnesses down the road. Drugs costs are a significant part of many health care bills, and student health plans carry a prescription drug benefit.
Few people want to consider the worst case scenario when it comes to a child. But it is wise to consider the possible danger that a student faces away from home. Disease outbreaks and even violence are frequent issues that educational institutions face. Students often work while in school and depend on employment to cover expenses. Health plans also offer short-term disability for students who maintain a certain amount of work hours. Student health plans provide an extra level of security against all these challenges.
Schools and parents should educate students on the level of coverage that any particular plan provides. When placed in stressful situations alone for the first time, many students may forget available options for care. Give the student one number to call in any health situation, even if the call is back to home. Make sure someone is up to speed on all options.
Being away from home is a traumatic experience, and getting sick away from home is devastating for a child or young adult away at school. Finding and paying for care is not a worry for parents and children with student insurance. Currently, many plans are available to all types of schools.