What You Need to Know
Nearly all Vermont colleges and universities require their students to have health insurance coverage.
University health plans are generally affordable options.
Vermont runs its own health insurance exchange and expanded Medicaid access under the ACA.
If you’re heading to Vermont for college and all the maple syrup you can eat, you’ll need to arrive with health insurance. Most schools require students to have it.
Why Vermont Students Need Health Insurance
Vermont colleges and universities require that you have health insurance – and that’s a good thing. Although most college students are young and healthy, anyone can get sick or injured. If you don’t have health insurance, the medical bills can be quite costly.
Will You Attend School In-State or Out-of-State?
If you’re a Vermont resident attending a college in state, your current health insurance may provide the same health coverage while you’re in school.
If you’re a resident of another state who’s coming to Vermont to study, your current plan may not cover the healthcare providers you might need to see while you’re there.
Can Someone Claim You as a Dependent?
If someone else claims you as a dependent on their income taxes, you will need to include their income when applying for a health plan. Using only your household income may qualify you for subsidies to help pay the cost of your premiums or qualify you for the state’s Medicaid or CHIP program.
Will You Stay on Your Parent’s Health Insurance Plan or Enroll in Your Own?
There are a few factors to consider when making an insurance decision. It may cost little or nothing to remain on your parent’s private health insurance policy or employer plan. However, if you’re attending school in a different city or as an out-of-state student, check with the insurance company to make sure there are in-network providers near your school.
You can stay on your parent’s health plan until you’re 26, but it may not provide the coverage you need.
What Plans Are Cheaper?
When evaluating a plan, be sure to look closely at all costs, which include:
- Premiums: the annual cost to have insurance, paid monthly
- Deductible: the amount you must spend before your plan starts to contribute toward your healthcare expenses
- Copayments: for doctor’s office visits and/or prescription drugs
- Coinsurance: your share of a payment against a claim, which kicks in after you’ve met your deductible.
If you’re shopping for a health plan, there’s more to consider than the cost of the monthly premium.
What Plans Offer Better Coverage?
To determine if a plan has the coverage you really need, start by answering these questions:
- Are there in-network providers within easy access of campus?
- Is there prescription drug coverage?
- Are mental health services and preventive care covered?
- Do you have a preexisting medical condition that requires frequent treatment and/or medication?
What If You Skip Health Insurance Coverage?
Since most Vermont schools require students to have health insurance throughout the school year, skipping it isn’t an option.
How to Get Covered Under Your Parent’s Plan in Vermont
The ACA requires insurance plans to offer dependent coverage for children up to age 26. If you go to college in Vermont and your parents live in a different state, make sure there are in-network providers near your campus.
How to Get Covered Under Your School Plan in Vermont
Your school’s website is the best source for information about student health services, health insurance requirements, and whether the school offers a student plan.
The University of Vermont requires all undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in 9 hours or more, international students and medical students to have comprehensive health insurance. Students must accept or decline the school’s student health insurance plan (UVM SHIP) annually and provide proof of coverage if declined.1
Champlain College and Middlebury College require all enrolled students to have health insurance. Students are automatically enrolled in Champlain’s SHIP unless they go through the waiver process. Middlebury students must provide documentation of adequate coverage and complete a waiver form or enroll in the school-sponsored plan.2
How to Get Covered through the Affordable Care Act in Vermont
The state operates its own health insurance exchange, Vermont Health Connect. Monthly premiums for plans ranging from $491 to $674 during the 2021 policy year, depending on plan level.3 Although the premiums are higher than in some states, Vermont offers generous subsidies. There are also subsidies available through the ACA to help pay plan premiums and higher-income eligibility as a result of the American Rescue Plan. Use this calculator to check whether you qualify for a subsidy. Students may be added to their parent’s Obamacare plan during the annual Open Enrollment Period, or apply on their own for coverage in Vermont. Moving to Vermont to go to college may also qualify you to enroll during a Special Enrollment Period if you miss the Open Enrollment deadline.
Depending on your age and dependency status, you will apply with your parents or on your own.
- Apply with parents:
If you are under age 26 you can be included on your parent’s application if they’re also applying for coverage under a Vermont Health Connect plan.
- Apply on your own:
If you are over age 26 or are moving to Vermont for school, you will apply for your own plan.
If you’re under 26 and your parents claim you as a dependent on their tax return, you are part of their household even if you’re not living at home. When the application asks for household income, include yours plus your parent’s. If you’re not claimed as a dependent on anyone’s tax return, you should include only your income. That makes it more likely that you’ll qualify for a subsidy.
How to Get Covered through Medicaid or CHIP in Vermont
Medicaid for Children and Adults (MCA) in Vermont includes Medicaid for low-income adults, pregnant women, caretakers of children under age 19, and elderly, blind, and disabled adults. MCA also includes Vermont’s CHIP, Dr. Dynasaur, for children under age 19.4
The monthly income threshold under Medicaid expansion is less than $1,481.70 for a household of one person. The monthly income limit for Dr. Dynasaur is $3,402.70 for a single-person household.5
Online enrollment for Medicaid, CHIP and plans on the state-based health insurance exchange are handled via the Vermont Health Connect website.
What Are Other Options for Coverage in Vermont?
Catastrophic health insurance plans have low premiums but high deductibles and out-of-pocket costs. People under the age of 30 are eligible to apply for a catastrophic plan.
Short-term health insurance plans in Vermont can only last three months; they cannot be renewed. Vermont also requires short-term plans to offer most of the essential services required of ACA plans. Currently, no insurers offer short-term plans in the state.6
Resources for Vermont Students
Healthcare.gov – provides information about ACA plans, coverage, eligibility requirements, and enrollment applications.
Champlain College – provides information about the school’s health insurance requirements, waiver,s and its SHIP.
Middlebury College – provides information health insurance requirements, waivers, and the university-sponsored plan.
University of Vermont – provides information about the university’s student health insurance requirements, waivers, and its SHIP.
Vermont Health Connect – provides information and enrollment opportunities for coverage through the state-based insurance exchange, Medicaid and CHIP.
You will need health insurance coverage and a carrier while you’re attending college in Vermont, so be prepared. Between a student insurance plan, the state-based exchange, and Medicaid expansion, you should be able to find an affordable option that will help you earn that degree.