Insurance- Health

A Guide to Understanding Insurance:

Life is full of risk.  You may not think about it, but every time you get into your car, you’re taking on the risk that you may get into an accident.  Each time you play an intramural sport or go on a run, you’re risking getting an injury.  All of these things are very expensive to pay for, and that’s exactly why insurance is an essential part of life.

Although there are many different types of insurance, there are really only three you need to worry about having in college: health, auto, and renter’s.  This post’s focus will concern health insurance, and auto and renter’s insurance will be covered next week.

How insurance works:

Whenever you buy an insurance policy, you have some control over the cost.  Every month you pay a premium, and the higher the plan’s deductible (the amount paid  before insurance payments kick in), the lower the premium.  For example, a policy with a $1,000 deductible means the policy won’t pay your bill until you’ve paid $1,000 in out-of-pocket costs.  Also, the more coverage options you add, the more expensive the monthly premium will typically be.  Depending on the insurance type, there are certain factors that will influence your premium, such as age, sex, marital status, credit, health, driving history, etc.

Health Insurance

This is insurance against loss by illness or bodily injury and provides coverage for medicine, visits to the doctor or emergency room, hospital stays, and other medical expenses.  By law, if you’re under 26 you can stay on your parents’ plan even if you are married or don’t live with them.  If this isn’t an option or you are over 26, you have three choices:

  • Employers may offer insurance plans which cover some of the cost
  • Temporary health insurance plans are available while you search for a permanent plan. Visit for more info.
  • The Affordable Care Act has a health insurance exchange for citizens to purchase health insurance through.  Visit for more info.

You may not think you need health insurance if you’re young and healthy, but you never know when an accident or major medical crisis could occur.  You can’t buy insurance to cover you after the fact- so you would most likely end up paying for the entire bill for many years to come.  It’s very important to compare policies and make sure you have covered what you need.

Article written by Amanda Owens, SMMC Program Assistant