What You Need to Know
Kansas colleges and universities don’t require most students to have health insurance but offer a plan for those who want it.
The current threshold for Medicaid qualification in Kansas is $17,131 for a one-person household.
Short-term health insurance is available in the state of Kansas.
If you are getting ready to go to college in Kansas, you no doubt have a long list of things to do before you leave. Is student health insurance on your list? If not, you should take care of it.
Although the Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandates that you can stay on your parent’s plan until you reach age 26, that plan may not offer the coverage you need. The good news is that you have options.
Why Kansas Students Need Health Insurance
Most college students are young and healthy, but illness and accidents can happen to anyone. If they do, unexpected medical expenses can be costly. Even though students are not required to have coverage to attend college, it’s a good idea to have health insurance in Kansas.
Will You Attend School In-State or Out-of-State?
If you’re a Kansas resident attending college in state, your current health insurance may provide the same health coverage while you’re in school.
If you’re a resident of another state who’s coming to Kansas to study, your current plan may not cover the healthcare providers you might need to see while you’re there.
Can Someone Claim You as a Dependent?
If someone else claims you as a dependent on their income taxes, that impacts how you answer questions about household income and household size if you’re applying for an ACA plan or a low-cost or free government plan.
Will You Stay on Your Parent’s Health Insurance Plan or Enroll in Your Own?
There are a few factors to consider when making this decision. It may cost little or nothing to remain on your parent’s plan. However, if you’re attending school in a different city or as an out-of-state student, check with the insurance company to make sure there are in-network providers near your school.
You can stay on your parent’s health plan until you’re 26, but it may not provide the coverage you need.
What Plans Are Cheaper?
When evaluating a plan, be sure to look closely at all costs, which include:
- Premiums: the annual cost to have insurance, paid monthly
- Deductible: the amount you must spend before your plan starts to contribute toward your healthcare expenses
- Copayments: for doctor’s office visits and/or prescription drugs
- Coinsurance: your share of a payment against a claim, which kicks in after you’ve met your deductible
Consider all costs
When shopping for health insurance, think beyond the monthly premium. Also consider the amount of the deductible, coinsurance, and copayments.
What Plans Offer Better Coverage?
To determine if a plan has the coverage you really need, start by answering these questions:
- Are there in-network providers within easy access of campus?
- Is there prescription drug coverage?
- Are mental health services and preventive care covered?
- Do you have a preexisting medical condition that requires frequent treatment and/or medication?
What If You Skip Health Insurance Coverage?
Opting out of health insurance may cost you if you have an illness or injury the student health center can’t handle. That could leave you with substantial debt.
How to Get Covered Under Your Parent’s Plan in Kansas
The ACA requires insurance plans to offer dependent coverage for children up to age 26. If you go to college in Kansas and your parents live in a different state, make sure there are in-network providers near your campus.
How to Get Covered Under Your School Plan in Kansas
Your school’s website is the best source for information about student health services and health insurance requirements and plans.
None of the schools governed by The Kansas Board of Regents requires undergraduate students to have health insurance except students in health/medical programs, international students, and walk-on student athletes. However, the Board offers a student health insurance plan through United Healthcare Student Resources.1 The Board governs 33 higher education institutions, including the University of Kansas, Kansas State University, and Washburn University.2
How to Get Covered through the Affordable Care Act in Kansas
Enrollment for Kansas ACA plans is handled through the federal Marketplace. The 2021 monthly premiums for Kansas plans ranged from $373 to $501, depending on plan level.3 Use this calculator to check whether you qualify for a subsidy. Students may be added to their parent’s Obamacare plan during the annual Open Enrollment Period, or apply on their own for coverage in Kansas. Moving to Kansas to go to college may also qualify you to enroll during a Special Enrollment Period if you miss the Open Enrollment deadline.
Depending on your age and dependency status, you will apply with your parents or on your own.
- Apply with parents:
If you are under age 26 you can be included on your parent’s application if they’re also applying for coverage under a Kansas Marketplace plan.
- Apply on your own:
If you are over age 26 or are moving to Kansas for school, you will apply for your own plan.
If you’re under 26 and your parents claim you as a dependent on their tax return, you are part of their household even if you’re not living at home. When the application asks for household income, include yours plus your parent’s. If you’re not claimed as a dependent on anyone’s tax return, you should include only your income. That makes it more likely that you’ll qualify for a subsidy.
How to Get Covered through Medicaid or CHIP in Kansas
Kansas Medicaid and the State Children Health Insurance Plan (SCHIP) are both part of “KanCare.” You may qualify for Kansas Medicaid if your income is below a certain threshold and your parents don’t claim you on their tax return. The current income threshold is less than $17,131 for a household of one person.4
The SCHIP coverage is available for children under age 19 who are not eligible for Medicaid.5
Online enrollment for Medicaid and SCHIP is handled via the State of Kansas KanCare website.
What Are Other Options for Coverage in Kansas?
Catastrophic health insurance plans have low premiums but high deductibles. People under the age of 30 are eligible to apply for a catastrophic plan. These plans have lower premiums, in exchange for high deductibles and out-of-pocket costs.
Short-term health insurance plans are available in Kansas. These temporary plans are not required to cover preexisting conditions or essential health benefits like ACA plans do. Carriers offer these plans with terms of six or 12 months; they can be renewed for a maximum of 24 months.6
Resources for Kansas Students
Bakeru.edu – provides information about Baker University’s student health insurance plan
Healthcare.gov – provides information about ACA plans, coverage, eligibility requirements and enrollment applications.
Kansasregents.org – provides information about the institutions of higher education governed by The Kansas Board of Regents and its sponsored student health plan.
Although Kansas public colleges and universities don’t require students to have health insurance coverage, that coverage could keep you out of debt if you are injured or become ill during school. Since student plans are affordable, you might as well get covered.