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Kids in college and health insurance
Old 02-14-2019, 01:49 PM   #1
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Kids in college and health insurance

I'm curious what others generally do in this situation.

I have a senior in high school who is currently on my health insurance plan. In the fall, he will be attending a university in another state halfway across the country. This university requires all students to either purchase their policy or provide proof of alternate coverage that they deem acceptable. Their requirement is that the policy accept claims made in their state.

My plan is a PPO with out-of-network benefits but there is a ~$16K out-of-network deductible and a $200K max-OOP for out-of-network claims. Plus the providers can balance bill if they are OON.

My kid will likely come home during Christmas break and maybe next summer.

Do I keep him on my plan for when he is on break? Seems wasteful.
Do I put him on the University plan? Is that adequate?
Do I have him on both? Seems expensive and excessive.
Can I add/remove him to my plan just for breaks? Seems unlikely.
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Old 02-14-2019, 02:10 PM   #2
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Can you change your plan to one that is also available where your kid will go to school? What happens if they get sick or hurt out there? Bring them home to see your doc? I am sure it would cost more then your current PPO, but it may be the best option for cost and coverage.

I have a kid in college. They don't wait until they come home to get sick.
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Old 02-14-2019, 02:10 PM   #3
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Does your son being out of state mean that there is not any in-network providers in his college location? Check with your current insurance provider and ask about this. In-network does not necessarily have to mean in your location.
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Old 02-14-2019, 02:22 PM   #4
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Interesting... I am lucky as DS went to state school and we just have him on our plan...


Check out the school plan and see what it covers.. also, if the state has expanded Medicaid then maybe he can sign up for that...
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Old 02-14-2019, 02:26 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by lakerunner View Post
Can you change your plan to one that is also available where your kid will go to school? What happens if they get sick or hurt out there? Bring them home to see your doc? I am sure it would cost more then your current PPO, but it may be the best option for cost and coverage.

I have a kid in college. They don't wait until they come home to get sick.
I don't think any plans like that exist. All of the plans I know of focus on local doctor and hospital networks.

Obviously I am concerned about if he is sick or hurt at school. Coming home doesn't make sense; home is two plane flights totaling ~10 hours away.

The other issue which I wasn't thinking of is that I also have his younger sister who is also on my plan and is still in high school this year, so any change could affect her.

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Does your son being out of state mean that there is not any in-network providers in his college location? Check with your current insurance provider and ask about this. In-network does not necessarily have to mean in your location.
My insurance company uses something called "Multiplan" (www.multiplan.com). I did a quick check and there seem to be plenty of primary care doctors in his school's zip code. There's also the standard on-campus health center, which is covered 100% if I buy the schools' plan but is OON from my plan.

It looks like the school insurance is about $1600 per year, and covers him during the school year with some coverage for when he is home or on break.
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Old 02-14-2019, 02:40 PM   #6
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Interesting... I am lucky as DS went to state school and we just have him on our plan...


Check out the school plan and see what it covers.. also, if the state has expanded Medicaid then maybe he can sign up for that...
The state (Oklahoma) has not (yet) expanded Medicaid. It looks like he currently would not qualify for Medicaid (he is able-bodied with no children). He also would not qualify under Insure Oklahoma.
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Old 02-14-2019, 02:42 PM   #7
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For our youngest, I opted to pay $1200 for the year (covers a full year - August to August) for the school's ACA-compliant plan (actuarial level: gold)

Kid still is on our plan here as well.
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Old 02-14-2019, 02:45 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by ncbill View Post
For the youngest, I opted to pay $1200 for the year (full calendar year) for the school's ACA-compliant plan (actuarial level: gold)

Kid still is on our plan here as well.
Thanks. What was your thinking about keeping them on your home plan also?

(My son's schools' policy has an AV of 88% I believe it was. Not sure if it's ACA-compliant; I suppose it is.)
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Old 02-14-2019, 02:56 PM   #9
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Also remember that if he has his own plan and you are on ACA that it can affect your credit...



I remember fooling around with the tax return and when I took son off the plan some strange things popped up... I remember thinking that I would not be able to take him as a dependent... this was awhile back so can not be sure what would happen now...
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Old 02-14-2019, 03:02 PM   #10
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Also remember that if he has his own plan and you are on ACA that it can affect your credit...



I remember fooling around with the tax return and when I took son off the plan some strange things popped up... I remember thinking that I would not be able to take him as a dependent... this was awhile back so can not be sure what would happen now...
Hmm. I'll have to look at that too.

I'll still be claiming him as a dependent, which the way I read Form 8962 means he'd still count in terms of the credit even if he's not on my plan.
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Old 02-14-2019, 03:07 PM   #11
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When my kids were in college, we just kept them on our plan. It was cheaper than what the college offered.

One snafu: Since one university was getting stiffed by [foreign] students claiming their health insurance was adequate, they upped the documentation required AND reduced the allowed deductible to just $1,000. I had my student go argue to the administration that it was ridiculous and the administration changed their rules for everybody at the university. It was a learning experience for my student to confront the administration, but she did a great job and learned something in the process.

Also note that pediatricians will stop seeing your kids, so make sure they are already making their own appointments (dentists, optometrist, vaccines, gynecologist, birth control) NOW and figuring out the health care system NOW.
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Old 02-14-2019, 03:12 PM   #12
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I don't think any plans like that exist. All of the plans I know of focus on local doctor and hospital networks.

Obviously I am concerned about if he is sick or hurt at school. Coming home doesn't make sense; home is two plane flights totaling ~10 hours away.

The other issue which I wasn't thinking of is that I also have his younger sister who is also on my plan and is still in high school this year, so any change could affect her.

My insurance company uses something called "Multiplan" (www.multiplan.com). I did a quick check and there seem to be plenty of primary care doctors in his school's zip code. There's also the standard on-campus health center, which is covered 100% if I buy the schools' plan but is OON from my plan.

It looks like the school insurance is about $1600 per year, and covers him during the school year with some coverage for when he is home or on break.
Does your plan cost the same with or without your son?

If your current plan is a PPO, it might have a network that includes health care providers where the university is located. You should confirm not just the availability of primary care physicians, but also emergency care, labs and a few specialists - like sports medicine.
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Old 02-14-2019, 03:16 PM   #13
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Glad I don't have these complications, especially with two in college. My employers plan is with Blue Cross/Blue Shield and has preferred providers nationwide. The first month the younger one was away, he began spitting up blood. To the college clinic who shipped him to an emergency room. Had a highly inflamed digestive tract. After a battery of tests, it subsided on its own and we never got a definitive diagnosis.....but he never had an issue again. I dropped everything and met him at the emergency room that afternoon.
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Old 02-14-2019, 03:42 PM   #14
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Thanks. What was your thinking about keeping them on your home plan also?
DD's out-of-state school also required in-state insurance and wouldn't approve our California plan, even though it would cover her in an emergency. We ended up keeping her on our plan and also purchasing the minimal plan that was acceptable to the school. We did not buy through the school as that was much more expensive than buying directly from Blue Cross.

My reasoning was that I wanted her to be able to be able to seek medical care while at school for things like strep throat or some other ailment that our insurance might not consider an emergency. But I also wanted to be able to bring her home and care for her here if she developed something serious enough to take her out of school for an extended period. When she was living in the dorms, she would have been homeless if she'd had to drop out for a semester due to illness, and if she couldn't have come home because her only insurance was in the other state, that would have been a complete mess.

She did end up using the other state's insurance a handful of times for minor things, and thankfully she never needed to come home for medical reasons. So in some sense, we wasted all those years of premiums when we kept here on our insurance, but I would do exactly the same again. The peace of mind was completely worth the cost.
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Old 02-14-2019, 04:25 PM   #15
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Our DS ended up being double covered. I kept him on my insurance because I could not start and stop just for breaks and summer and the school deemed our insurance as not meeting their requirements, so he had to purchase the school insurance. It actually, and unfortunately, worked out well as he ended up in the hospital one year and had huge medical bills. The double coverage helped.
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Old 02-14-2019, 07:01 PM   #16
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Also note that pediatricians will stop seeing your kids, so make sure they are already making their own appointments (dentists, optometrist, vaccines, gynecologist, birth control) NOW and figuring out the health care system NOW.
Yup. My kids have been going to adult-style doctors for years now. He's completely up to date on vaccines and doesn't need at optometrist. He's been going to the primary care doc on his own and refilling a medication he needs on his own for a while now. Good point.

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Does your plan cost the same with or without your son?

If your current plan is a PPO, it might have a network that includes health care providers where the university is located. You should confirm not just the availability of primary care physicians, but also emergency care, labs and a few specialists - like sports medicine.
It would be about $48 per month less, assuming they would let me drop him (I'm assuming they would.)

As noted above, the PPO participates in Multiplan, which I'm just starting to become familiar with today. Good point about the other aspects of medical care and checking into those.
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Old 02-14-2019, 08:28 PM   #17
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My son is on the university plan. He is a senior and used it once to my knowledge. If needed, he can use the university medical center for sniffles or other things that come up. He also has coverage for any major or minor events at school or at home. I buy coverage from the school for the summer also. He has an Aetna policy through the school. I don't remember the deductible, but it didn't concern me when i decided. Generally kids don't use too much medical, that's what their policies are fairly cheap.
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Old 02-15-2019, 06:41 AM   #18
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My son is on the university plan. He is a senior and used it once to my knowledge. If needed, he can use the university medical center for sniffles or other things that come up. He also has coverage for any major or minor events at school or at home. I buy coverage from the school for the summer also. He has an Aetna policy through the school. I don't remember the deductible, but it didn't concern me when i decided. Generally kids don't use too much medical, that's what their policies are fairly cheap.
My experience is somewhat different. We had two daughters at the state university. The clinic there made it a real hassle to get prompt medical care even with the insurance from my employer. The university insurance covered the girls annually, not just for the school year. So, we ended up the next year going with the university plan for them and the DW and I stayed on the company plan. Our premium reduction for going from "family" to "employee +1" helped to offset the girls insurance. Also the rate for university insurance was actually quite good as I recall given the large group size and age of the participants in that plan.
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Old 02-15-2019, 06:58 AM   #19
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Thanks. What was your thinking about keeping them on your home plan also?
We have more than one kid & are fortunate in that there's no per child charge on our employer plan, i.e. pay for 'child' coverage and the price is the same whether 1 kid or 10.
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Old 02-15-2019, 09:52 AM   #20
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The University plan offered for my kids was through BCBS and was much cheaper than my plan. I guess the pool of kids on the plan have less change of expensive medical care. In fact she was able to extend this coverage for 6 months after she graduated as it was better that her employers. SIAP, but didn't see the details from the University Plan offered from your kids school.
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