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North Dakota Student Health Insurance Options | Healthcare Coverage and Plans

Updated on July 1st, 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

Health insurance can help you prepare for unexpected illness or injury.

You can be covered under your parents’ health insurance until the age of 26.

You can also buy your own insurance plan.

What Are Health Insurance Options for North Dakota Students?

If you’re attending a college or university in the Flickertail State, or your child is heading off to school there, are you making plans for health insurance coverage? Don’t forget this part of the planning process. Learn more about coverage options in North Dakota and what to know when enrolling.

Why Do North Dakota Students Need Health Insurance?

Maybe you think you don’t need healthcare coverage since you’re healthy. Your age group is the most likely to be uninsured.1 But if you get seriously ill or have an accident, you could face big medical bills that follow you even after graduation. If you have a preexisting condition like asthma, you may need regular access to doctors. Additionally, some schools may require health insurance for admission.

What to Consider When Searching for Student Health Coverage in North Dakota?

First, do you live in North Dakota? What’s available may depend on whether you’re an in-state or out-of-state student. If you’re in-state, it may be easier to stay on your parents’ plan. 

Here are a few other things you’ll want to consider:

  • Can someone claim you as a dependent? If you’re under 26 years old and a parent or guardian can claim you as a dependent, you can get on their health insurance plan. 
  • Will you remain on your parents’ plan or enroll in your own plan? If you stay on your parents’ plan but you’re outside its provider network, you might only be covered for emergency care.2 
  • What plans are cheaper? As a student, you may be operating on a limited budget. Short-term or catastrophic plans may cost less, but they also offer less coverage.  
  • What plans offer better coverage? Health policies that meet Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements are generally the most comprehensive. They’ll also likely cost more per month. But if you take medication or occasionally need to see a specialist, that coverage may be worth the cost. 
  • What if you skip health insurance? North Dakota doesn’t require health insurance, so there’s no penalty for being uninsured. You could save money on monthly costs, but you run the risk of paying more out-of-pocket if you have health issues. 
  • What are health insurance rules in North Dakota? Under state law, most insurers must offer coverage to certain adult children up to age 26 whether or not they have coverage through an employer.3 North Dakota allows short-term health plans for a maximum of 12 months. 

How Do You Get Covered Under Your Parents’ Plan in North Dakota?

If you’re under 26 years old, you can stay on your parents’ plan. You can stay on their plan whether you’re in-state or out-of-state, but costs may be lower if you’re an in-state student. If the plan is a network-based policy like an HMO or PPO, make sure it includes network providers near your school, so your medical services are covered.

Your parents can add you to their Health Insurance Marketplace plan during the annual Open Enrollment Period or during a Special Enrollment Period, which is available in situations like losing other health coverage. 

They can add you to a job-based plan during that plan’s Open Enrollment Period or Special Enrollment Period. 

Check If In Network

If your parents’ plan is an HMO or PPO, make sure the providers near you are in the plan’s network.

How Do You Get Covered Under Your School Plan in North Dakota?

Your college or university may offer its own insurance plan, or it may contract with an insurer to provide coverage to students. These plans are more limited and may not cover services like routine examinations.4 Check with your school to see what’s available. The cost of your plan is considered a school expense, so your student loans can help pay for it. 

The University of North Dakota offers insurance plans to international students, but not U.S. students. Student Health Services (SHS) offers routine care to students with or without insurance, though students are responsible for costs. If you have questions or need help finding coverage, you can contact the insurance coordinator at 701-777-3457.

North Dakota State University also offers insurance plans to international but not U.S. students. Its Student Health Service offers primary care, preventive and acute services as well as telehealth, lab and radiology services. If you have questions, you can contact the insurance coordinator at 701-231-5239.

School Plan Options

Your college or university may offer health plans on their own or through a private insurer.

How Do You Get Covered Through the Affordable Care Act in North Dakota?

ACA-compliant plans must cover “essential benefits” such as mental health services and maternity care, and insurers can’t reject you for preexisting conditions. 

In North Dakota, apply through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace. You can also contact a certified insurance broker. If you want to apply for a federal subsidy, though, you’ll have to go through the Marketplace. 

Subsidies, or premium tax credits, are available if you earn 400% or less of the federal poverty level. They can help lower your monthly premium costs. 

How Do You Get Covered Through Medicaid or CHIP in North Dakota?

You can apply for Medicaid if you’re a resident of North Dakota and meet qualifying criteria, such as low income or disability. If you’re a resident 18 years old or younger and your family earns too much to qualify for Medicaid, you may qualify for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Apply online or contact the North Dakota Department of Human Services at (844) 854-4825 to see if you’re eligible.

What Are Other Options for Coverage in North Dakota?

Catastrophic health plans are available if you’re under 30 or you qualify for an exemption. These plans offer low monthly premiums with a high deductible and are best suited for people who don’t need a lot of health services.

Short-term health insurance plans are also an option. These limited-duration plans last up to 185 days in North Dakota and can be renewed once. Short-term plans aren’t required to cover the ACA essential benefits and can reject you for having a preexisting condition.

What Are Resources for North Dakota Students?

The North Dakota Insurance Department offers information about college students and insurance. You can contact the state Department of Human Services at (800) 472-2622 with questions. The federal Marketplace site also has information and tips for students.5

Next Steps

If you’ve decided to get a health insurance policy before you start school, think about your health needs and what type of plan would best fit them. Then decide what plan is best for you so you can sign up before the semester starts. 



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  1. Conway, Douglas. “Uninsured Rates Highest For Young Adults Aged 19 to 34.” U.S. Census Bureau, October 26, 2020 (accessed March 18, 2021).

  2. North Dakota Insurance Department. “College Students and Insurance.” insurance.nd.gov (accessed January 25, 2021).

  3. College Students and Insurance.”

  4. College Students and Insurance.”

  5. U.S. Government Website for the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace. “In school? Student health plans & other options.” healthcare.gov (accessed January 25, 2021).