What Are Health Insurance Options for Utah Students?
If you’re in college in Utah, you may be required to have health insurance coverage. Some Utah students remain on their parents’ plan until they graduate, but there are also plenty of options for student health insurance in Utah. This guide will help you know what to look for when choosing a healthcare plan.
What You Need to Know
Utah students can apply for health insurance individually or stay on a parent’s plan.
Some universities offer health insurance plans, but it’s important to make sure it’s a qualifying plan under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
You can also find an ACA plan that will cover you while you’re in school.
Why Utah Students Need Health Insurance
You may find that your college requires that you have a health plan in place in order to attend. Even if coverage isn’t required, it’s important to have health insurance. Medical care for an injury or illness can be very expensive. Health insurance gives you financial protection plus peace of mind knowing that you can get care if you need it.
What To Consider When Searching for Student Health Coverage in Utah
If you have coverage under a parent’s plan, you need to decide whether to stay on that plan or purchase one separately. A key factor in making that decision is whether or not your parents live in the state where you’re going to college. If you’re attending school in Utah, but your parents live in Nevada, you might find that their insurer’s network doesn’t include the local doctors and hospitals near your school. That means you may have to pay more to access their services. Or your parent’s plan may not cover out-of-network care at all. It’s always a good idea to check with the healthcare providers and facilities near campus to see if they accept your insurance.
If your parent’s plan doesn’t offer coverage out of state, you may be better off purchasing a plan in the state where you’ll be going to school.
How to Choose a Health Insurance Plan
If you decide to purchase a plan, there are two costs to consider when shopping for one. The first is the premium. You pay a monthly premium whether or not you use the insurance that month. You also have out-of-pocket costs, such as your deductible, when you use your insurance to get care, such as your annual deductible. The deductible is the amount you’re responsible for before your insurance starts to pay for its share of the cost. Let’s say you’re considering a plan that has a $1000 deductible. That means if you end up in the emergency room with an $800 bill, you would be responsible for the entire amount. The next time you need care, you would pay the first $200, and then your insurance coverage would kick in. In general, plans with lower premiums have higher deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs. In plans with higher premiums, you pay more upfront, but less when you need care.
What Happens If You Skip Insurance?
Currently, there’s no penalty for not having health insurance as there has been in previous tax years. But you’ll need to check with the college or university you’re attending in Utah to find out if you’ll suffer any penalties for not having it.
Even Utah colleges that don’t require that students have health insurance still strongly encourage students to get it. There’s a reason for that. Not having health insurance means if you have an unexpected medical emergency, you’ll have to pay out of pocket for it. If you plan to use the on-campus clinic, you may also want to find out what fees you’ll pay out of pocket, as well as what services it provides.
Even if you’re young and healthy, skipping health insurance can be costly if you have an unexpected illness or injury.
Utah Health Insurance Requirements
As a state, Utah does not have health insurance requirements for its residents. Some states require residents to have health insurance, but Utah isn’t one of them.
However, you will need to report your insurance coverage on your 2021 tax return.
How to Get Covered Under Your Parents’ Plan in Utah
If your parents live in Utah, you are eligible to be covered on their plan until you reach the age of 26.1 If you’re not already on their plan, they can add you during Open Enrollment, which is typically a 6-week period in November and January. If you’ve moved or had another qualifying life event, you may be eligible to enroll outside of this timeframe. This is known as a Special Enrollment Period.
Sticking with Mom and Dad
Staying on your parent’s plan may not be the best option if they live in a different state from your school.
How Do You Get Covered Under Your School Plan in Utah?
Some colleges give you the option of signing up for a campus-sponsored plan. Is this a better deal than you could get through a network-sponsored plan? The best way to find out is to compare the cost and coverage with other available plans.If you’re applying for insurance at a Utah university, make sure it counts as qualifying coverage under the Affordable Care Act2. Most student plans do.
To enroll in the school-sponsored plan, check with your school. Each college has its own processes for enrolling in student healthcare plans.
How Do You Get Covered Through the Affordable Care Act in Utah?
Utah students can obtain healthcare coverage through Obamacare, either with their parents or individually.Obamacare plans are required to cover preexisting conditions and essential health benefits. In Utah, you can stay on a parent’s ACA plan until you reach the age of 263. If you’re not already on your parent’s plan, or you’re applying as a family, you will have to apply during the Open Enrollment Period unless you’ve had a qualifying life event.
If you’re a dependent under the age of 26 and the plan is only for you, complete your application as an individual. Make sure to include your parent’s income in addition to yours. You may qualify for a subsidy based on the whole household’s income.
If no one claims you as a dependent, and the plan is only for you, only include your income on the application. You may qualify for a subsidy based on your income.
You can enroll in an ACA plan by visiting healthcare.gov. 4
How Do You Get Covered Through Medicaid or CHIP in Utah?
If your annual earnings are below the poverty level, and you aren’t listed as a dependent on your parents’ tax return, you may qualify for Medicaid through the Bridge Program5. If you’re eligible for Medicaid, you don’t pay anything for this insurance To apply for coverage, visit https://medicaid.utah.gov/apply-medicaid/.
For those under the age of 19 who don’t have health insurance and don’t qualify for Medicaid, the Utah Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) may be an option. This program provides low-cost health coverage to people who meet income requirements. 6 To find out more about applying for CHIP, visit https://chip.health.utah.gov/how-to-apply/.
What Are Other Options for Coverage in Utah?
Another inexpensive option for coverage is a Catastrophic health plan. These plans have low premiums and very high deductibles.You pay for most of your care until you hit your deductible. They are designed to offer protection against serious illnesses or injuries. Like all ACA plans, they cover essential health benefits, including three visits to a primary care doctor. Catastrophic plans are only available to people under 30. People over 30 may qualify if they can get a hardship exemption.7 You can purchase a Catastrophic health plan on healthcare.gov.
Another option in Utah is short-term health insurance. These temporary plans are not traditional insurance because they are not required to cover preexisting conditions or essential health benefits like ACA plans. Utah state law allows short-term health insurance that is not renewable and lasts 364 days or less8. Short-term insurance plans are available through private insurers.
What Are Resources for Utah Students?
Here are a few resources that can help you as you line up health coverage during your college years:
- The University of Utah Student Health Center
- Utah Department of Health
- United Healthcare of Utah
- Utah Department of Health – Medicaid/CHIP/PCN
Now that you’re aware of all the options that apply to you, it’s time to start shopping for a plan. You can save money while getting top-quality coverage by comparing prices and offerings and making a fully-informed decision.