What You Need to Know
If your parents’ plan is network-based, it may not cover healthcare services in the city where your college is located.
Find out if your school requires you to have health insurance and if they offer a student health plan.
Compare costs and coverage between all your options to find the best health insurance plan for you.
There are 50 colleges and universities in the beautiful state of Maryland.1 No matter where you go, make sure to consider what type of health insurance you’ll need while you are away at college. In Maryland, you have many coverage options.
Why Do Maryland Students Need Health Insurance?
You can’t predict when a critical illness or injury will send you to the emergency room. Health insurance protects you from expensive medical costs that could otherwise leave you deep in debt. It also provides security that you will be able to access the care you need, when you need it.
What’s more, many schools require students to have health coverage. If you’re looking for health insurance while in school in Maryland, here are some things to consider.
Will You Attend School In-State or Out-of-State?
If your current plan is network-based, healthcare providers outside of your area may not accept your insurance. That means, you may not have adequate coverage in your new location, whether that’s in-state or out-of-state2.
Can Someone Claim You as a Dependent?
If your parents claim you as a dependent on their taxes, you are considered a member of their household. Household size and income are used to determine your eligibility for some low- or no-cost health insurance plans. If you purchase a plan on the Marketplace under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), your household income will also be used to assess whether you qualify for a subsidy to reduce your monthly premium payments.
Will You Stay on Your Parents’ Plan or Enroll in Your Own Plan?
Under the ACA, you can stay on your parents’ health plan up to age 263. If you’re moving to a new city for college, find out if the plan covers healthcare services in that area. If it does not, your medical treatment costs will be higher or may not be covered at all, depending on your plan’s out-of-network benefits.
What Plans Are Cheaper?
When shopping for a plan, it’s important to consider all costs, including premiums, deductibles, co-pays, co-insurance, and out-of-pocket expenses for non-covered services.
What Plans Offer Better Coverage?
Some plans offer better coverage than others. When comparing health policies, take into account the services that are covered as well as the provider network you can access for medical care.
What If You Skip Health Insurance?
Students may not think they need health insurance. But you don’t know when you will get sick or injured. Without insurance, medical treatment is expensive. A broken leg can cost up to $7,500; a 3-day hospital stay averages $30,0004. Health insurance protects your financial future, as well as your health.
Unexpected Illness Can Be Costly
An unexpected illness or injury can cost you thousands of dollars if you don’t have health insurance.
How to Get Covered Under Your Parents’ Plan in Maryland?
- If you’re under 26
You can remain on your parents’ health insurance plan up to age 26.
- If you’re over 26
Once you turn 26, you will need to find your own coverage.
Sticking with Mom and Dad
You can stay on your parent’s plan until you turn 26, but this is not always your best option.
How to Get Covered Under Your School Plan in Maryland?
In Maryland, many schools require students to have health insurance.
For example, the University of Maryland (UMD) requires all undergraduate students enrolled in 6 or more credit hours, full-time graduate students, and international students to have health coverage.5 The college automatically enrolls students into the University-sponsored student health insurance plan. This plan, provided by CareFirst Blue Preferred PPO covers hospital stays, doctor visits, emergency care, and essential health benefits, and has no annual or lifetime coverage maximums.
To waive health insurance at UMD, you must provide proof of comparable coverage and submit a health insurance waiver form by the school’s deadline.
If your school does not require you to have health insurance, it may offer you the opportunity to sign up for the student plan on a voluntary basis.
How to Get Covered through the Affordable Care Act in Maryland?
In Maryland, enrollment in ACA health plans is through the state-based health insurance Marketplace, Maryland Health Connection. In 2020, the average monthly premium for an ACA plan in Maryland ranged from $266 for a bronze plan to $373 for a gold plan7. Depending on your household income, you may also qualify for a Federal subsidy to reduce your monthly payment. Use this calculator to check whether you are eligible for a subsidy.
If you decide to purchase an ACA plan, your application will depend on your age and whether your parents claim you as a dependent on their taxes.
- Apply with parents
If you are under age 26 and are staying within your state, you will apply with your parents8.
- Apply by yourself
If you are over age 26 or attending an out-of-state school, you will apply on your own. The income listed on your application, though, will depend on whether your parents claim you as a dependent. If your parents claim you as a dependent, your application will include both your income and your parents’. If no one claims you as a dependent, your application will include only your income.
How to Get Covered Through Medicaid or CHIP in Maryland?
Medicaid is a state-run program that provides free or low-cost health coverage to low-income children, adults, pregnant women, caregivers, the disabled, and the elderly9. Maryland Child Health Program (MCHP) offers coverage for children up to age 19 with household incomes that fall within a certain limit.
To determine your eligibility for Medicaid and MCHP, visit Maryland Health Connection.
What Are Other Options for Coverage in Maryland?
If you are under age 30 or have a special hardship, a catastrophic health plan may be an option. Catastrophic policies offer lower premiums than Marketplace plans. The deductibles are much higher, however, resulting in greater out-of-pocket costs if you need to seek medical services.
You can check your eligibility for a catastrophic plan through Maryland Health Connection. If you are eligible, you will see them offered among your choices.
Short-term health insurance provides gap health coverage for limited periods of time. In Maryland, that time period is only 3 months, with no option for renewal10. While short-term plans are a low-cost option, they do not cover essential health benefits or pre-existing conditions like ACA plans do.
What Are Resources for Maryland Students?
The best health insurance resources for students in Maryland are:
- Your school’s student health insurance office or website.
- Maryland Health Connection for additional information and guidance on ACA plans, Medicaid, MCHP, and Catastrophic insurance.
Considering everything you need to do to get ready for college, it’s easy for things to fall through the cracks. Don’t let health insurance be one of those things. Find out all your options, spend some time comparing the cost and coverage each provides, and choose the best plan for you. Then, you can start your school year knowing both your health and finances are protected.