Going back to school? Should you enroll in your student health plan or stay on your parent's plan?

Going back to school?

Find out whether you should enroll in your student health plan offered by your school or stay on your parent’s private health plan.

I’m young and healthy. Do I need health insurance?

Many people think health insurance is too expensive and not worth the trouble, but implementing health insurance may be easier and more affordable thank you think! It’s also a good idea to make sure you are protected with quality care in case of an emergency.

Where can I get health insurance?

Health insurance is available to you through many different resources: your school, the marketplace, your employer, your parent’s private plan, a private company, or the Medicaid expansion.

If I’m going to college, should I switch to student Health Plan?


  • Student health plans offer good coverage. Check the plan descriptions to get a better understanding of the coverage and its limits.

  • Your student plan is accepted by a network of providers in your college town, which is not a guarantee if you stay on your parent’s plan.

    • One likely in-network provider is your student health center on campus, which is very convenient.

  • Most student health insurance plans comply with the new regulations of the Affordable Care Act.


  • Your student health plan may not cover as much as your parent’s plan.

  • It may be that there are very few in-network providers in your hometown. Consider whether you will be needing more care in your college town or your home town.

  • Often, student health insurance plans require you to pay for one semester’s worth of premiums (six months) at once.

If I’m going to college, can I stay on my parents’ plan?

Even if U.S. citizens get married, live at a different address, have a child, start school, or are offered coverage by their employer, they can typically stay on their parent’s private health insurance plan until they turn 26. If the parent is or will soon be 65 (Medicare age), staying on that plan is not an option.


  • You don’t need to explore other insurance options.

  • You are likely already familiar with your benefits and in-network providers.

  • It’s simpler than switching insurance plans. 


  • In-network providers may not be nearby. Visiting out-of-network providers can be costly.

  • If you’re managing a chronic illness, are an athlete, or are prone to injuries and/or illnesses, you may need medical care more often, and may not have the coverage you need in your college town.

Can I enroll in my parent’s insurance and school-sponsored insurance?

You can be enrolled in your parent’s insurance and your school plan. Keep in mind, with this option, you will be paying two premiums for similar or overlapping coverage. One plan would become your primary plan and any claims not covered by that plan would be forwarded to the secondary insurer. This is considered coordination of benefits, which may not be the most logical choice for most people.

Conduct a provider search to determine if you would have coverage in your college town and your home town.

You can typically find this information by calling the member services number on your insurance card or visiting your insurer’s website.

Questions to consider:

  • Are in-network providers available in my college town?

  • Is the student health center, or another close-by clinic, in-network? 

  • Are in-network providers available in my hometown?

  • Are there penalties for visiting out-of-network providers?

  • What is the monthly premium?

  • What is the copay for primary care physicians, specialists, the emergency room, urgent care, etc.

  • Are dental and vision coverage included?


Find health insurance confusing? You’re not alone. Contact us and we will guide you to make the best choices for you.