What You Need to Know
Wyoming colleges and universities don’t require most students to have health insurance, but they encourage it.
International students and domestic students enrolled in programs with clinical experiences require health insurance coverage.
Short-term health insurance is available in Wyoming.
As you get ready to pack up and head off to Wyoming for college, don’t forget to take your health insurance card with you. If you haven’t thought about health insurance yet, you should. Although the Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandates that you can stay on your parent’s plan until you reach age 26, that plan may not offer the coverage you need. The good news is that you have options.
Why Do Wyoming Students Need Health Insurance?
If you’re a healthy young adult, you probably don’t spend time thinking about health insurance. But people at any age can get injured or become ill without warning. If you don’t have a health policy, you could find yourself in substantial medical debt if the unexpected happened. That’s why most Wyoming colleges and universities encourage students to have coverage.
Will You Attend School In-State or Out-of-State?
If you’re a Wyoming resident attending a Wyoming school, it’s likely that whatever coverage you currently have will provide the same health coverage while you’re there.
If you’re a resident of another state who’s coming to Wyoming to study, your current insurance plan may not cover the physician, hospital, or other providers you might need to see.
Can Someone Claim You as a Dependent?
If your parents (or anyone else) can claim you as a dependent, that impacts how you answer questions about household income and household size if you’re applying for an ACA plan or a low-cost or free government plan.
Will You Stay on Your Parent’s Health Insurance Plan or Enroll in Your Own Plan?
There are a few factors to consider when making this decision. It may cost you little or nothing to remain on your parent’s plan. If you’re attending school as an out-of-state student, check with your current insurance company to make sure the network of doctors and hospitals you can go to includes providers near your school. If not, you may want to purchase a plan on your own that provides coverage in Wyoming.
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 the 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 where you’ll be going to school?
- 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?
Even though colleges in Wyoming don’t require most students to have a health plan, you’re taking a risk if you decide to go without insurance. If you get sick or injured while you’re in school, you could end up with some serious medical debt.
How to Get Covered Under Your Parent’s Plan in Wyoming
The ACA requires insurance plans to offer dependent coverage for children up to age 26. If you go to college in Wyoming 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 Wyoming
The best place to get information about student health insurance requirements and opportunities for coverage is on your school’s website.
The University of Wyoming is the state’s only four-year, residential campus. Although health insurance is not required for most students, the university offers an affordable insurance plan. Students must accept or decline it before enrolling in classes each semester.1
Most Wyoming community colleges, such as Laramie County Community College and Casper College, require international students and students enrolled in some healthcare programs that require clinical experience to have medical insurance. However, they do not offer school-sponsored plans.2
How to Get Covered through the Affordable Care Act in Wyoming
Wyoming participates in the federally facilitated Marketplace. Wyoming has only two health insurance companies currently offering ACA plans. The 2021 monthly premiums for Wyoming ACA plans range from $519 to $645, depending on plan level.3 Use this subsidy calculator to check whether you qualify. Students may be added to their parent’s Obamacare plan during the annual Open Enrollment Period, or apply on their own for coverage in Wyoming. Moving to Wyoming 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 Wyoming Marketplace plan.
- Apply on your own:
If you are over age 26 or are moving to Wyoming for school, you will apply for your own plan.
If you are 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 Wyoming
Wyoming Medicaid pays for services for children, pregnant women, families with children, the disabled, blind, and elderly. Monthly Income thresholds to qualify for family and pregnant women programs begin at $529 for a household of one person.4
Wyoming’s Kids Care Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) coverage is available for children under age 19 who fall within certain income guidelines and are not eligible for Medicaid.5
Enrollment for Medicaid and CHIP are handled by calling the Wyoming Department of Health or via online application on the WY Medicaid/CHIP Client Portal.
What Are Other Options for Coverage in Wyoming?
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 are allowed under Wyoming law per federal guidelines. The law allows health insurance companies to offer initial coverage up to 364 days. Renewals are limited to 36 months.6 These temporary plans are not required to cover preexisting conditions or essential health benefits like ACA plans do.
Resources for Wyoming Students
Healthcare.gov – provides information about ACA plans, coverage, eligibility requirements, and enrollment applications.
Casper College – provides information about student health insurance requirements
Laramie County Community College – provides information about student health services
University of Wyoming – provides information about student health insurance
Despite the fact Wyoming colleges and universities don’t require most students to have health insurance coverage as a condition of enrollment, they do encourage it. Unexpected medical expense can be an impediment to completing your degree. So, do your homework and leave for college with that proof of insurance tucked away safely, just in case.