What You Need to Know
Health insurance is important if you’re a college student in New Jersey, regardless of your current health.
NJ FamilyCare, New Jersey’s Medicaid plan or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) may be options if your income is low.
What Are Health Insurance Options for New Jersey Students?
At any given moment, you may get sick or sustain an injury that requires a trip to the doctor or emergency room. Health insurance is important, even if you’re a healthy college student. Fortunately there are a variety of health insurance options for New Jersey students.
Why New Jersey Students Need Health Insurance
If you’re a college student in New Jersey, consider health insurance to be a necessity rather than just an option. It can protect you (and your parents) from significant out-of-pocket expenses and provide you with peace of mind.
Health insurance does come with a few limitations. Your plan may not cover all of your medical expenses. Depending on what you choose, it may also cost you (or your parents) a considerable amount of money in premiums.
What to Consider When Searching for Student Health Coverage in New Jersey
There are a number of questions you may want to ask when you look for student health insurance in New Jersey, including:
- Will You Attend School In-State or Out of State? Where you attend college will dictate the health insurance options available to you.
- Can Someone Claim You as a Dependent? Your parents or legal guardians may be able to claim you as a dependent, as long as you’re under the age of 26.
- Will You Stay on Your Parents’ Plan or Enroll in Your Own Plan? You can continue to stay on your parents’ plan until your 26th birthday. 1 Or, you can look for and sign up for your own plan.
- What Plans Are Cheaper? Since you’re a college student who may have a limited budget, there’s a good chance you prefer more affordable plans.
- What Plans Offer Better Coverage? Not all health insurance plans are created equal. You’ll want a plan that provides you with the best possible coverage.
- What If You Skip Health Insurance? If you forgo health insurance, figure out what you’ll do if you get sick or injured. Ask yourself how you’ll pay for your healthcare expenses.
- What Are Health Insurance Rules in New Jersey? Every state has its own unique health insurance rules. Determine what they are in New Jersey.
How to Get Covered Under Your Parents’ Plan in New Jersey
As stated, you can receive health insurance coverage through your parents’ plan. The main caveat, however, is that you must be under age 26. If you attend college in a different state, note that their plan may not cover as much as it normally does. Your parent’s plan may also cost more than alternative options.
If you do turn to your parents’ plan for healthcare coverage, make sure it’s network-based. This way you’ll be able to use providers in the same state where you attend college.
How to Get Covered Under Your School Plan in New Jersey
Find out if your college offers its own healthcare insurance plans or Student Health Insurance Plans (SHIPs). 2With a SHIP, the college doesn’t hire an outside insurance company. Instead, they pay for all the claims directly. If you go this route, confirm that your school’s plan offers the essential benefits outlined by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
How to Get Covered through the Affordable Care Act in New Jersey
You can pursue a number of health insurance options through the Affordable Care Act in New Jersey such as:
- Apply with your parents: You can remain on your parent’s health plan until your 26th birthday. This holds true even if you’re living in a different state, married, or consider yourself financially independent.
- Apply by yourself: If you’re not eligible to be on your parent’s plan because you’re 26 or over, you can buy your own policy through the marketplace. New Jersey has a number of policies you can choose from with various price points and coverage levels.
- Federal Subsidy: ACA offers a federal subsidy that limits the amount you pay for your premiums. If you earn between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level, this may be an option. 3
How to Get Covered through Medicaid or CHIP in New Jersey
- Medicaid: Medicaid is a state run, federally funded program that provides health care coverage to low income adults. It may be an option for you if you’re not a dependent on your parent’s tax return and need to obtain health insurance on your own. In New Jersey, the Medicaid program is called NJ FamilyCare and comes with certain income criteria you must meet. 4
- CHIP: If your income is too high to qualify for Medicaid but you can’t afford private health insurance, you may want to consider the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). You may be eligible for CHIP if you’re a New Jersey resident and the primary caregiver of a child(ren) 18 years old or under. 5
You can apply for these programs online and call 1-800-701-0710 if you come across questions with your application.
Other Options for Coverage in New Jersey
- Catastrophic Health Plan: If you’re under 30 years old and meet the criteria for a hardship exemption, a high-deductible plan known as a catastrophic health plan can be a good choice. 6 It can protect you the emergency medical situations that may run you thousands of dollars. You’ll pay for all of your healthcare costs until you meet your annual deductible. Fortunately, three primary care visits each year and preventive services under the ACA will be covered.
- Short-Term Health Insurance: Also known as temporary health insurance, short-term health insurance can give you temporary coverage when you have a gap in permanent coverage. Keep in mind that while short-term plans tend to be more affordable than ACA plans, they don’t include many benefits like preventive services.
Resources for New Jersey Students
Check out these resources to help you find the ideal student health insurance plan in New Jersey.
If you need help finding New Jersey student health insurance, we’re here for you. You can plug in your zip code and see the various options at your disposal. Best of luck in your search for student health insurance in the Garden State.