Understanding Student Health Insurance

Health insurance is probably the last thing on a student’s mind. Their focus is on getting a quality education, forming a new social circle and everything else associated with college life. However, even if you are in prime health, an unforeseen accident could occur that may require extensive medical care. Without insurance, this could put you, or your parents, in steep debt. The cost of an education is expensive as it is; having a staggering medical bill on top of it can put you in a financially dire situation.

Some Australian universities mandate that students have health insurance before being admitted to the school. Most campuses that fall under this category have their own insurance that students are automatically enrolled in with an option for opt out for those who can submit proof of enrollment in health insurance with a private company. Likewise, foreign students who study in an Australian university through an international abroad program are also required to have insurance, which they can obtain through Overseas Student Health Cover.

Health Insurance Options for Students

Students can opt for the insurance provided by the university, in which case the cost will automatically be factored into the student’s fees and no further action is required. They may also remain on their parent’s insurance plan. Most Australian health insurance providers define dependents as anyone under 18 years of age. However, those between the ages of 18-25 may be eligible to remain on their parent’s
plan if they attend a university as a full-time student. They also cannot be married, working full-time or earning an income beyond a certain limit.

Individual Health Insurance Plans

If no university-sponsored plan is available and they don’t meet the requirements to remain under their parents’ plan, then there is always the option of enrolling in an individual student health insurance policy. Students falling under this category may wonder whether they really need health insurance. Even if you are as healthy as an ox, the answer should always be a resounding yes. Unforeseen medical situations can happen to anyone regardless of age and current health condition. Dealing with health insurance is one of those situations when it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

When applying for insurance, carefully look over the different policies and be absolutely certain what each plan does and does not cover. It is important that you look over the clause of the policy and discern whether certain preexisting conditions are covered. Additional factors to look over include the co-pays, deductibles, maximum coverage and out of pocket limits. When reviewing plans, you want to know whether it is a cost effective solution from a premium standpoint. Too many students are drawn in by the benefits but fail to see that more benefits often entail higher premiums that they may not be able to sustain in the long-term.

Don’t be Afraid to Ask Questions

Paying for private medical insurance is a huge investment, so don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need to really understand what’s behind the policy. Other questions to ask include whether the policy covers inpatient and outpatient treatment, prescription drugs and physical therapy. Also know the date the coverage goes into effect and whether it provides coverage during the summer break. Also find out if the coverage will lapse if you graduate or withdraw and whether there is a grace period.

As a student, your concentration is on your studies and enjoying the student life. However, it also helps to be prepared for worst-case scenarios, and you don’t want to be caught off guard with an injury or illness that will require medical intervention and the huge bill that goes with it.

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