How to Present Health Insurance Options to College Students


Give college students reasons for purchasing health insurance. College students are typically young and feel invincible. Other than the occasional cold or bout with the flu (or hangover), they are often in fairly good health, and most have never dealt with health insurance at all. Begin the presentation by discussing the cost of medical treatment without health insurance, even if it is just for a doctor visit and an antibiotic.


Talk about possible health problems common even in young and fairly healthy individuals. You don't want to overdo this and scare them, but be realistic. Car wrecks happen to anyone, regardless of age or health. Sexually transmitted diseases can be even more common among the young college crowd. Normal accidents, athletic injuries and chronic conditions such as asthma can lead to very high medical bills, but, if left untreated, can lead to permanent physical damage.


Explain how health insurance works in a very basic way: customers pay monthly fees to insurance companies, who in turn agree to cover medical costs for the customers.


Define insurance terms such as premium, deductible and coverage, and explain how health insurance works in a bit more detail. Note, for example, that a health insurance provider can reject claims, that some doctors and/or hospitals do not accept certain types of insurance, that most alternative treatments will not be covered by insurance, and that the customer is responsible for the deductible and/or copays associated with medical treatment even when the treatment is covered by their insurance provider.


Tell about the different options in a slightly more detailed way. Explain how one option differs from another by presenting all the options on a chart or spreadsheet that makes it easy to see them all at once.


Discuss the pros and cons of each option. Some may offer more coverage but may also have higher rates. A higher deductible option may be more affordable for monthly payments, but it may be nearly impossible for a student to pay a high deductible.


Give several opportunities for questions throughout the presentation. It's easy to forget a question you had in the first section by the time you make it to the conclusion, so give the students a chance to get answers as you go along.

Many college students have never had to shop for or choose health insurance for themselves, so the whole process can be overwhelming. Take some time to explain both the need for health insurance and the basic terms, then present the options in a way that makes them easy to compare.