The Best Health Insurance for College Students

Health insurance is the last thing on your mind while you’re young and in school. However, as a college student, it’s critical to get coverage in case of an emergency so you don’t end up with even more debt.

Young adults have the highest incidence of uninsured of any age group; in fact, about 30% of young adults do not have health insurance, putting them at risk if they have medical expenses.

The average cost to repair a broken limb is $7,500, while a three-day hospital stay costs a whopping $30,000. You will have to pay the full amount if you do not have health insurance.

When you’re in college, you have several health insurance options, including coverage through your parent’s plan or through insurance provided by your school. You can shop for coverage on your own if you don’t have access to these types of plans.

This article contains a complete list of the best health insurance for college students. Explore!

What is Student Health Insurance?

You pay a corporation a monthly sum, your premium, for health insurance. In exchange, the company agrees to pay a portion of your medical expenses, such as doctor visits, prescription drugs, and hospital stays.

A common misconception is that because college students are young and generally healthy, they do not require health insurance. Yet one in six young adults has a chronic health problem, and nearly half of them have trouble paying their medical bills. Getting health insurance is important financial security.

Student Insurance Options

You have the following insurance options as a college student:

  • School Provided Coverage:  Many institutions offer insurance plans to new students.

You can sign up for an insurance plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace at You may be eligible for subsidies that make coverage more affordable based on your income, or you may be able to purchase a low-cost catastrophic plan.

  • Health Insurance:  Medicaid, the government’s insurance program for low-income people, may be available to you based on your income and where you live. Your state Medicaid office can help you apply for coverage.
  • Private insurance plans:  You can also choose a plan from a private insurance company. These plans may or may not comply with ACA regulations, but they can protect you from accidents or serious illness.

How much does college student health insurance cost?

The cost of health insurance as a college student is determined by your income, status, and status as a student.

For example, low-income children eligible for Medicaid may pay $0 per month for coverage, while school-provided insurance typically costs between $1,500 and $2,500 per year.

Your rates will be determined by your tier and deductible if you choose a plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace. If your income meets specific criteria, you may be eligible for subsidies that lower your costs.

What is the best health insurance for college students?

These are the best health insurance programs for college students:

1. Insurance offered by the school

Insurance plans provided by schools often cost between $1,500 and $2,500 per year.

That’s much less than the average annual cost of non-school coverage for one person. The average annual premium for conventional employer-based coverage is $7,470.8, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Premiums for school insurance plans are usually included in tuition and fees, so you can pay for them with financial help. When you have a school-provided plan, you can use your coverage at student health clinics on campus, which is helpful when you’re sick.

School plans, on the other hand, can have a wide range of coverage and network options. You may not be able to customize your plan and you may not be able to see your current doctors because they are not in network. Here are the pros and cons of this insurance company:


  • You can pay your premiums with financial help.
  • Coverage is available at health clinics on campus.
  • The plans are usually less expensive than external policies.


  • Your coverage alternatives may be limited.
  • To be eligible, you may need to be a full-time student.
  • You may not be able to keep your current medical providers.


IMG is one of the best health insurance for college students studying in the United States. This insurance company has a variety of international student insurance policies that you can customize to meet your specific needs, all of which are underwritten by Sirius International Insurance Corporation.

IMG plans also include prescription drugs that allow you to obtain vital medications while you are in the United States.

For an additional fee, IMG allows you to add other coverage options and riders to your policy. Theft or loss of your bags, jewelry or personal documents is covered by the additional coverage. It also protects you from personal liability. Additional coverages may be available depending on policy type, location and other circumstances.

Above all, IMG is an ideal coverage option for international students who wish to study in the United States due to its personalized insurance plans and high maximum limits. Here are the pros and cons of this insurance company:


  • Plans with maximum limits of up to $8 million are available
  • There are a variety of plugins and additional clauses available.
  • Prescription drug coverage is included


  • There may be waiting periods for pre-existing conditions.
  • JD Power does not classify them.
  • Lower tier options do not meet the requirements for J1 and J2 visas.

Visit the official website to learn more about this college student health insurance company.



For college students, short-term insurance policies can be a cost-effective alternative to standard health insurance. You can get temporary coverage for less than the cost of a private insurance plan with a short-term policy.

Everest offers personalized short-term insurance policies, making it the best alternative for short-term coverage.

At Everest, you can select a deductible between $1,000 and $10,000, as well as a copay between $40 and $50, allowing you to tailor your premium to your budget.

You can also choose your own maximum level of coverage. You can choose a maximum of $250,000 to $1.5 million, depending on your needs. Here are the pros and cons of this insurance company:


  • Low-cost copay and coinsurance options are available.
  • There is a free trial period of 30 days.
  • Maximum coverage periods are offered in a variety of lengths.


  • Prescription drug coverage is not included.
  • There are no exclusions for pre-existing conditions.
  • Not all states have it.

Visit the official website for more information about this college student health insurance company.

4. Tokio Marine HCC Health Insurance Services

Adequate health insurance is crucial for students from other countries studying in the United States. Students may find that it is a requirement of their visa or school, but even if it is not, it is a wise precaution against prohibitive bills resulting from accident or illness.

Tokio Marine offers low-cost, high-benefit plans for visiting students in the United States, making them our top choice for international students.

With Tokio Marine, you can add an accidental settlement and crisis response clause to your coverage and personal liability coverage. It is included in certain policies. Here are the pros and cons of this insurance company:


  • Policies meet J-1 visa requirements
  • Get a quote and buy online
  • Emergency dental care included up to $250 per tooth and a maximum of $500
  • Includes prescription drug coverage
  • Coverage for sports and leisure activities
  • Nationwide coverage


Variable waiting period or no coverage for pre-existing conditions



Students often have hectic and varied schedules. Finding time to visit the doctor is not a problem with Pivot, as you can use their telehealth service around the clock or book an appointment with any convenient doctor.

Their policies are flexible and affordable, making Pivot our preferred short-term health insurance option for students.

Deductibles start at $1,000. When you see a doctor or get other covered health care services, there is a 20% or 30% coinsurance.

Pivot limits the most you’ll pay out-of-pocket with coinsurance to between $3,000 and $10,000 before you reach the plan’s coverage limit.

Coverage maxes out at $1 million. Policy duration and renewal varies by state. Six months is a common policy term. You can customize your plan with things like dental and vision coverage.

A significant advantage of short-term insurance policies is the short waiting time. With Pivot, coverage can start within 5 days or 30 days for cancer coverage. However, there are some downsides, including exclusions for pre-existing conditions, sexually transmitted infections, maternity care, and more. Here are the pros and cons of this insurance company:


  • Not tied to a provider network
  • Telemedicine 24/7
  • Drug and vision discounts


  • Not available in all states
  • Canceling policies can be difficult

Visit the official website

6. Blue Cross Blue Shield

More than 110 million people across the country trust the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) for their health care coverage.

Thanks to its student-specific plans, low-cost insurance options, variety of benefits, and rewards system, BCBSA was an obvious choice for our top overall pick.

The BCBSA comprises 35 separate entities, most of which have an AM Best financial strength rating of A (Excellent). You will be directed to your local provider when you enter your zip code on the BCBSA website.

Depending on your location, you can choose from coverage levels from catastrophic to full platinum. You can also customize plans with dental and vision insurance.

Catastrophic coverage has lower monthly premiums, but higher deductibles and an out-of-pocket maximum. The coverage does not reach the maximum. People of any age can join the bronze through platinum plans, but you must be under 30 to sign up for a catastrophic policy.

For these Marketplace plans, you’ll have to wait an enrollment period to join, and coverage will start on January 1. Short-term plans are available to fill gaps in coverage.

People cannot be excluded for health conditions, but there are exclusions that include experimental and cosmetic procedures and long-term care. Here are the pros and cons of this insurance company:


  • Teams with multiple states and schools to offer plans for students
  • Expansive network providers
  • Available in all 50 states and internationally
  • Range of additional benefits
  • exclusive discounts
  • Extensive coverage options


  • Some plans do not include prescription drug coverage
  • Finding information on the many BCBS websites can be difficult



If you’re a college student on a shoestring budget, catastrophic insurance from Aetna may be a good option. The Federal Health Insurance Marketplace is where you can purchase catastrophic coverage. They feature lower monthly payments than typical insurance policies, making them attractive to low-income students.

Aetna’s catastrophic plans include some preventive services, like immunizations and screenings, as well as three primary care doctor visits each year.

Because catastrophic plans, unlike other insurance plans purchased through the Health Insurance Marketplace, are not eligible for a refund of the premium tax credit, you will be responsible for paying your monthly payments in full.

Aetna catastrophic plans are not available in all states. You must be under the age of 30 or meet the conditions of a hardship waiver to be eligible for a catastrophic plan.

If you’re a low-income college student who doesn’t qualify for Medicaid or premium subsidies, a catastrophic plan from Aetna can provide you with critical coverage at an affordable price. Once you’ve met your deductible, Aetna will pay 100% for most procedures, protecting you in the event you need extensive medical care. Here are the pros and cons of this insurance company:


  • The premiums are quite modest.
  • Some preventive services and primary care visits are covered for free.
  • Financial security in case of a medical emergency


  • Monthly deductibles too high
  • Not all states have it


8. Cigna

Cigna plans are organized in tiers, with bronze to platinum insurance available. Bronze plans are the cheapest, while Platinum plans offer higher monthly premiums but lower deductibles.

All Cigna plans offer $0 preventive care, so you won’t have to pay more for an annual exam, flu shot, or physicals.

Cigna also offers low-cost virtual care, which allows you to speak with a board-certified doctor by phone or video call.

Because Cigna’s comprehensive coverage provides more benefits for less money, it’s our overall favorite.

Some students may be eligible for Cigna subsidies, but not all college students will be. Subsidies are calculated based on your family’s income.

If your parents make too much money and you are a dependent, you may not be eligible for a subsidy and may have to pay the full monthly premium. Here are the pros and cons of this insurance company:


  • Options for full coverage
  • Some students may be eligible for premium assistance.
  • Preventive care is free and virtual care is cheap.


  • If you are a dependent, benefits may not be accessible.
  • You may need to find a new health professional.


Frequently asked questions about student health insurance

What is student health insurance?

You pay a corporation a monthly sum, your premium, for health insurance. In exchange, the company agrees to pay a portion of your medical expenses, such as doctor visits, prescription drugs, and hospital stays.

Can college students use their parents’ health insurance?

College students and youth can stay on their parents’ health insurance policies until age 26 under the Affordable Care Act.

Can college students use their parents’ health insurance?

College students and youth can stay on their parents’ health insurance policies until age 26 under the Affordable Care Act.


Many colleges and universities require students to have insurance. Even if health insurance isn’t required for enrollment, having it will help protect your finances, or your child’s finances, from the high cost of a medical emergency.


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