What Are Health Insurance Options for Georgia Students?
Georgia college students aren’t required by state law to have insurance. But if you’re attending school as an undergraduate or graduate student, your school may have requirements. You can stay on your parent’s plan until the age of 26.
It may seem like a no-brainer to stay on it for students who have health insurance through their parents. But there are reasons why you may want to get your policy. Or perhaps you don’t have healthcare coverage through your parents and want to know your options. If you need coverage, for whatever reason, we can help you find a student health plan in the Peach State.
What You Need To Know
Georgia students who need health insurance have a variety of options.
If you’re staying on your parent’s plan, it’s important to make sure you’ll have the coverage you need.
You can get an affordable plan by going through the ACA or your school-sponsored healthcare plan.
Why Georgia Students Need Health Insurance
The first reason to shop for an insurance policy is simple: your college may require it. For example, healthcare coverage is mandatory for some students in the University System of Georgia1. Even if it’s not required, think twice about skipping it. You may head off to school without a health problem in sight, but it just takes one surprise illness to run up a huge medical bill. By having health insurance, you’ll be covered for the medical care you need.
A Word of Advice
Choosing a plan with a low monthly premium usually means you’ll have higher out-of-pocket costs if you need care.
What To Consider When Searching for Student Health Coverage in Georgia
When you start college, will you stay on your parents’ insurance or search for your own policy? If you want your own plan, you’ll need to start researching plans as soon as possible; if you stay on your parents’ coverage, where you attend school matters. If you live in a different state from where you’re going to school, you need to know if their insurance coverage includes the doctors and hospitals in the area where you’ll be living. If not, you may want to look into other options.
What Makes a Plan Cheaper or More Expensive?
If you’re shopping for health insurance, you likely want to pay as little as possible. But the plan with the lowest monthly premium may not be the one that’s right for you. Plans with lower premiums tend to have higher out-of-pocket costs. These are the fees you pay when you use your insurance to get care. For example, every plan has an annual deductible. That’s the amount you pay out of pocket until your insurance kicks in. If your annual deductible is $2,000, you would be responsible for most of your healthcare costs until you met that $2,000 amount.
If you have a condition that requires regular care, you may want a plan with lower out-of-pocket costs in exchange for a higher monthly premium. On the other hand, if you don’t anticipate having any medical expenses, you may opt for the lower premium. There’s no right or wrong answer here. But it’s important to understand what you get for your money.
Get Help Paying for Coverage
Depending on your income, you may qualify for a subsidy if you buy insurance through the Affordable Care Act.
What Are the Health Insurance Rules In Georgia?
As of 2019, there is no longer a penalty for not having health insurance. There is also no statewide mandate requiring health insurance in Georgia. That means you can skip health insurance as long as your college allows it. However, if you have an unexpected illness or injury, you could be responsible for some major bills if you don’t have coverage. Many schools have an on-campus healthcare clinic for students. If you’re relying on a campus clinic for medical care, find out in advance what services it offers and if there is a fee for the care you receive.
How To Get Covered Under Your Parents’ Plan in Georgia
If you’re attending college in Georgia, some careful planning can save you some money once you start a semester. If you’re on your parents’ plan already, and you’ve determined the coverage is sufficient, you don’t need to do anything.
If you’re not currently on your parent’s plan and want to join it, keep in mind that you can only do so during Open Enrollment. This takes place from November 1 to January 15. There are some circumstances in which you can enroll outside of that timeframe, known as a Special Enrollment period.
How Do You Get Covered Under Your School Plan in Georgia?
Before you price student health insurance plans with insurance providers, check to see what your school offers. For example, the University System of Georgia offers comprehensive health insurance coverage to eligible students. You’re billed automatically through your student account if you enroll. Other schools may have a different process for enrolling in their plan. Check with the college or university you’re attending to see what student insurance plan they offer and how to sign up.
How Do You Get Covered Through the Affordable Care Act in Georgia?
You can also check into what you can get through the Affordable Care Act. If you’re a dependent under the age of 26 and the plan is only for you, fill out the application as an individual. You’ll have to claim your parents’ income along with any money you’ve made. If your household income meets requirements, you could qualify for a subsidy.
If no one claims you as a dependent, and you’re the only person named on the plan, you’ll only have to include your income. You also could qualify for a subsidy in this instance, as long as you meet the income requirements.
Keep in mind that you can only enroll in ACA plans during the fall Open Enrollment Period. Moving to another state to attend college may count as a life event that allows you to join during a Special Enrollment Period.
To enroll in an ACA plan, visit healthcare.gov and click See if I Can Enroll.
How Do You Get Covered Through Medicaid or CHIP in Georgia?
For Georgia students whose income falls below a certain level, Medicaid is an option. You’ll need to meet the basic income requirements, which may mean not being listed as a dependent on your parents’ tax return2. You can apply for Georgia Medicaid here.
If you’re under the age of 19 and uninsured, you may also qualify for low-cost coverage through the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP). Georgia’s CHIP plan is called PeachCare for Kids.
What Are Other Options for Coverage in Georgia?
If you simply want medical coverage in a worst-case scenario, a catastrophic health plan could be an affordable way to get some peace of mind. With a catastrophic plan, you pay low premiums in exchange for a high deductible. You’ll have to pay a significant amount if you do have a claim, but at least it will take care of some of your costs if you have an expensive emergency.
As a college student, though, you might just need something temporary. A short-term insurance plan lets you buy coverage for up to a year at a time until you settle on a more permanent solution. Short-term insurance can be an inexpensive option but it doesn’t offer the benefits of a traditional plan. These plans are not required to cover preexisting conditions or preventive services like ACA-compliant plans do. You can purchase short-term insurance from private insurance carriers.
What Are Resources for Georgia Students?
Georgia students who are interested in checking into their health insurance options have plenty of resources. Here are a few to help get you started in your research:
- University System of Georgia Student Health Insurance Program
- United Healthcare of Georgia
- Georgia Medicaid
- Healthcare.gov Options for College Students
If you’re heading off to college in Georgia, it’s important to first consider whether you’ll need your own healthcare plan or not. Once you’ve determined you will, it’s time to start researching. Make sure you compare multiple options so that you’ll know you’re getting the best coverage at the best prices available to you.