What You Need to Know
If you’re under age 26, you can stay on your parents’ plan whether you’re an in-state or out-of-state student.
There are some situations where it might make more sense to buy your own insurance plan.
You can get health insurance through your school, the Health Insurance Marketplace or a private insurer.
What are Health Insurance Options for Oregon Students?
You’ve planned everything for your school year at your college or university in Oregon, but have you included health insurance? Maybe you’re wondering whether you need healthcare coverage as a student. Learn more about what’s available and how you can get enrolled.
Why Do Oregon Students Need Health Insurance?
You may think you don’t need health insurance if you’re young and healthy. According to the U.S. Census, in 2019 the average uninsured rate for 19-year-olds was 14.3%.1 But if you get seriously ill or injured, you could face big hospital bills, and those debts could follow you even after graduation. If you have a preexisting condition such as hypertension or obesity, you need regular medical care to stay healthy. Also, many colleges and universities require you to be insured for admission.
What to Consider When Searching for Student Health Coverage in Oregon?
First, do you live in Oregon? If you’re an in-state student, it may be easier to stay on your parents’ plan. If you’re attending school from out-of-state, you might need to look at options in Oregon.
A few other things to consider:
- Can you be claimed as a dependent? If you’re under 26 years old, your parent or guardian can claim you as a dependent and you can use their health insurance plan.
- Will you stay on your parents’ plan or enroll in your own? You’re more likely to qualify for an Affordable Care Act (ACA) subsidy if you purchase your own plan, or you might qualify for Medicaid or CHIP on your own. But it might make more financial sense to stay on your parents’ plan.
- Which plans are cheaper? If you need less frequent medical care, you might want to choose a plan with lower monthly costs and a higher per-service fee. If you have a preexisting condition or other medical needs, you might consider paying more per month for a plan that covers more services.
- Which plans offer the best health insurance coverage? Plans that follow Affordable Care Act guidelines are likely to be the most comprehensive, since they’re required to offer certain benefits. If you don’t need those benefits, a more restricted plan might be a better choice.
- Should you skip health insurance? Remember, this could be risky. You’ll save money on monthly costs, but you might pay much more if you have any medical issues.
- What are health insurance rules in Oregon? Oregon’s rules on short-term health insurance differ from the federal rules. Short-term plans can only last three months, and you can’t renew with the same insurer within 60 days.
How Do You Get Covered Under Your Parents’ Plan in Oregon?
Under the ACA, you can stay on your parents’ insurance plan in Oregon up to age 26, even if you don’t live with them. If your parents’ plan is through their job, you can be added during a Special Enrollment Period or yearly Open Enrollment Period. If their plan is through the federal or state Health Insurance Marketplace, you can also be added during these periods or included on the original application.
You can stay on your parents’ coverage whether you’re an in-state or out-of-state student. If you’re from out-of-state, though, make sure your parents’ plan covers doctors and facilities near your school.
How Do You Get Covered Under Your School Plan in Oregon?
Some colleges and universities in Oregon offer their own student health plan if you earn a certain number of credit hours. You may be able to use your student loans to pay for your school plan, which makes your monthly payments easier.
- The University of Oregon offers the UO Student Insurance plan, which includes medical and prescription drug benefits. It offers national and worldwide coverage.
- Oregon State University offers medical care through Student Health Services. It requires health insurance for all students, and offers an insurance plan for international students.
Pay With Loans
If you get health insurance through your college or university, you can use your loans to pay the monthly costs.
How Do You Get Covered Through the Affordable Care Act in Oregon?
Health insurance plans that follow ACA rules cover “essential benefits” like hospitalization, maternity care and mental health services, and they can’t charge you more for having a preexisting condition. There are three ways to get ACA coverage in Oregon:
- Apply with your parents. They can either include your information on their original application or add you during an Open Enrollment Period or a Special Enrollment Period.
- Apply on your own. You can buy your own plan through the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace or through a private insurer.
- Apply for a federal subsidy. If you earn 400% or less of the federal poverty level, you may be able to get a tax credit or subsidy that reduces your monthly premium. The state Marketplace site will tell you what you’re eligible for when you apply.
How Do You Get Covered Through Medicaid or CHIP in Oregon?
Medicaid offers low-cost health services to people with low income or disability. The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) covers children up to age 18 whose family earns too much to qualify for Medicaid. The Oregon Health Plan combines both programs for state residents. Apply online to find out if you’re eligible.
Public Health Coverage Options
You might qualify for healthcare assistance from Medicaid or SCHIP.
What Are Other Options for Coverage in Oregon?
If you’re under 30 or qualify for an exemption, you can get a catastrophic health plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace or through a private insurer. These plans have low monthly premiums, but they carry a high deductible. That means you’ll pay more up front before the plan covers your care. They’re a better choice if you don’t have a lot of health issues or in case of emergencies.
Short-term health insurance offers basic coverage for a limited time. Short-term plans in Oregon can’t last longer than three months. These plans can cost less than traditional plans, but they aren’t required to cover the ACA’s essential benefits and can reject you or charge you more for preexisting conditions.
What Are Resources for Oregon Students?
You can check the Oregon Marketplace for coverage options and information. The Oregon Health Authority offers details on health insurance, wellness and other topics. For general information, check the federal HealthCare.gov site.
If you’ve decided to get a health insurance plan, compare your options in Oregon so you know what works best for your health and financial needs. Then be sure to apply so that you’re covered before you head off to school.