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Why Do Indiana Students Need Health Insurance?

Updated on: March 13th, 2021

We want to help you make educated healthcare decisions. While this post may have links to lead generation forms, this won’t influence our writing. We adhere to strict editorial standards to provide the most accurate and unbiased information.

What You Need to Know

Getting health insurance helps protect you in case of medical emergencies. 

If you’re staying on your parents’ plan, make sure it offers in-network providers near your school. 

You can also buy your own insurance plan if that makes more sense for you. 

Whatever your health history, having insurance coverage when you’re at your college or university in Indiana is important, even if you don’t see a doctor too often. One serious injury or condition that requires diagnostic tests, for instance, can result in huge fees if you don’t have enough health coverage.

Why Is Health Insurance Important?

Health insurance protects you from being hit with large medical bills at a time when you’re likely to have little to no income. Some Indiana colleges require proof of health insurance for admission, and if you’re uninsured, they may automatically enroll you in their plan.

Even if your school in Indiana doesn’t require coverage, you may want health insurance, especially if you have a preexisting condition or other health issues. 

What to Consider When Searching for Student Health Coverage in Indiana?

There are multiple options for health insurance in Indiana. To decide which is best for you, consider these factors: 

  • Will You Attend School In-State or Out-of-State? You can stay on your parents’ plan either way. If you’re attending from out-of-state, though, make sure your health plan will cover services and providers near your school. 
  • Does the Plan Meet ACA Eligibility Standards? Certain types of plans don’t follow ACA rules and may not cover as much. 
  • Can You Be on Your Parents’ or Guardians’ Health Plan? You can stay on their plan until you turn 26, even if you’re not living with them. But first see what their plan covers and whether it meets your needs when you’re at school. If you buy your own plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace, your lower income may qualify you for subsidies. 
  • Will the Plan Cover Services at the On-Campus Medical Facility? Some Indiana campus student health facilities accept some health insurance plans, but others don’t, meaning you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket if you use their services. Check your school’s facility to see what fees they charge.1
  • What Plans Are Cheaper? Compare rates and what you get for the price. A higher monthly premium, for instance, means you pay less out-of-pocket for services.  
  • What Plans Offer Better Coverage? Insurance plans, even from the same carrier, vary widely. ACA-compliant plans tend to be the most comprehensive since there are rules they have to follow for coverage.
  • What Are Health Insurance Rules in Indiana? Indiana doesn’t have its own Marketplace, so rules for insurance follow federal guidelines. 

What Are Coverage Options in Indiana? 

Aside from traditional ACA-compliant plans, if you’re under 30, you can buy catastrophic plans in Indiana. These plans provide coverage in emergency situations but have a high deductible. That means you’d have to pay a larger amount out-of-pocket before your coverage begins. 

Short-term plans offer basic coverage for a set amount of time. In Indiana, short-term plans can be issued for 364 days or less, and they can be renewed for up to 36 months. They tend to cost less than traditional healthcare plans, but they don’t have to follow ACA rules and don’t cover preexisting conditions. They can also reject you for health issues.

School Health Plans

Many colleges and universities offer their own healthcare plan to students.

How Do You Get Coverage Through the Affordable Care Act?

If you’re buying your own plan, you can get an ACA-compliant plan through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace. These plans must cover “essential health benefits” including hospitalization, maternity services, mental health services, and prescription drugs. ACA-compliant plans also can’t reject you or charge you a higher rate for preexisting conditions.2 

You can sign up through the federal site during the ACA Open Enrollment Period, which generally runs from November 1 to December 15, or a Special Enrollment Period for major life changes. 

If you sign up for your own Marketplace plan, you may be able to get tax credits or subsidies, which would lower your premium. If your parents are claiming you as a dependent, though, you likely won’t qualify for subsidies. 

If you’re staying on your parents’ plan, they can add you during their plan’s annual Open Enrollment Period or during a Special Enrollment Period. 

How Do You Get Covered Through Your School in Indiana?

If you choose a plan through your college or university, reach out to your school’s health department. Most Indiana schools offer an ACA-compliant plan, according to the Indiana Department of Insurance. You can use your college loans to pay your school plan. 

  • If you’re a student at Indiana University’s Bloomington campus, for $122.54 per semester, you get access to reduced-cost medical care and other services at the Student Health Center. The center provides a wide range of medical, mental health and wellness services.
  • At the University of Notre Dame, the school health insurance plan covers 100% of the cost of services provided by University Health Services (UHS).
  • DePauw University requires you to provide proof of primary health insurance. If you have coverage, you can waive the university’s plan. If you aren’t covered, DePauw automatically enrolls you in its plan. 

How Do You Get Covered Through Medicaid or CHIP in Indiana?

Indiana Medicaid is a federal and state program that offers healthcare assistance to residents with low income or disability. You can apply online to find out if you’re eligible. The state Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is part of the Hoosier Healthwise Program, which offers health coverage for children up to age 19 and pregnant women. You may qualify if you or your family’s income is too high for Medicaid eligibility.

If you’re age 19 and up and you don’t qualify for Medicaid, you might be eligible for the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP). For individuals, eligibility is capped at an annual income of just under $18,000; for couples it’s $20,078; and for families, the maximum amount is $36,590. You can apply for HIP at any time during the year. 

Qualify for Help

Your income may qualify you for assistance programs like Medicaid or CHIP.

What Are Resources for Indiana Students?

Purdue University offers an easy-to-follow guide on how medical insurance works, whether or not you’re a student there.3 

To see whether you qualify for HIP, the state Family and Social Services Administration offers an eligibility and contribution calculator

The federal Health Insurance Marketplace site offers tips and information on health insurance to college students.4 

Next Steps

If you want to make sure you’re insured while you’re at school, research your options and pick the plan that offers the right amount of coverage for you at the right price. That way, you’ll be set when it’s time to head off to campus.  



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  1. U.S. Government Website for the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace. “In school? Student health plans & other options.” healthcare.gov (accessed February 17, 2021).

  2. U.S. Government Website for the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace. “What Marketplace health insurance plans cover.” healthcare.gov (accessed February 17, 2021).

  3. Purdue University Human Resources. “Health Insurance Benefits Are Important.” purdue.edu (accessed February 17, 2021).

  4. In school? Student health plans & other options.”