College Students and Grads Need Affordable Health Insurance Given High Tuition and Loan Costs

written by BVM June 4, 2018
College Students Health Care Coverage. A stethoscope and pen on an appointment book.

Whether from summer break or graduation, a massive number college students are now searching for inexpensive health insurance amidst rising tuition costs and mounting student loan debt. Almost four million Americans are graduating from bachelors, associates, and graduate degree programs this year, and another 20 million attending colleges and universities are beginning their annual summer break between spring and fall semesters.

Unless health coverage is provided through parents or school, continuing students must find a way to pay for health insurance alongside education costs that can run in the tens of thousands (estimated average tuition & fees: $34,699/private colleges, $9,528/public colleges). For graduates, the situation is not any better. While tuition is no longer an expense, loan payments commence. A survey of younger graduates found nearly one fifth of their salaries are spent on loan payments. Not surprisingly, an AgileHealthInsurance poll revealed that over 70% of college students and recent graduates found it hard to find affordable health insurance. The cumulative result of these conditions is a very high risk for current students and recent graduates to join the ranks of the uninsured.

“Uninsured students and graduates face significant and enduring education-related costs and, as a direct result, have very limited budgets for health insurance coverage,” observed Bruce Telkamp, Founder and CEO of AgileHealthInsurance.com. “Our research in this area has consistently shown that unless they can find major medical insurance for under $100 per month, most will forgo health coverage and become uninsured.

Students should comparison shop for lower cost major medical health plans before giving up on health coverage, a decision that can expose them to serious financial liabilities in the event of an accident or serious illness. The best, and in some cases, only major medical coverage available for these Americans at a price point they can afford is short-term health insurance. These plans can be an excellent choice for gaps in insurance coverage during summer or while a graduate waits for job-based benefits to begin.”

AgileHealthInsurance communicates daily with thousands of health insurance consumers including college students and recent graduates. Affordability is the highest priority for these populations. Likewise, three months is also a common coverage request given the length of summer for students and the ability of employers to wait up to 90 days before extending health benefits to new graduates they hire. This ability of employers to delay health benefits to new employees often takes graduates by surprise and leaves them scrambling for an interim solution.

In the case of one AgileHealthInsurance customer, short-term health insurance proved the optimal choice. The customer recently graduated and had a job offer that included health benefits but those benefits would not start for several months. In the mean time, he did not qualify for Obamacare premium subsidies and he did not have the advantage of health coverage from a parent. On AgileHealthInsurance, he was excited to find a short-term health insurance plan with a premium of only $49.98 per month and a deductible of $2,500. If he had chosen a plan on Healthcare.gov, the least expensive ACA Bronze plan in his area was about $200 more expensive per month and the deductible was nearly $4,000 more expensive.

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