Find the cheapest Va student health insurance plans whether you are full or part-time. Individual or family coverage is available online now from most of the large companies. Flexible low-cost coverage is offered to meet your medical needs and satisfy the requirements of your school or University. We shop multiple companies in Virginia so you get the best rates, regardless of whether you're attending school inside or outside the state. Our free review guides show you the most cost-effective way to enroll for a plan, both on or off the Marketplace.
We help you understand what benefits are the most important, which options best meet your needs, and how to pay the lowest rates for these policies, even if you are in graduate school or a technical college. Although most colleges and universities offer their own version of coverage, options are often limited, so they may not be the best solution to your needs. Affordable full-time and part-time coverage is available. In many situations your college policy may be the best choice, and we'll certainly recommend those specific plans.
Advantage Of Individual Marketplace Plans
Exchange (or "Marketplace") policies don't require medical underwriting. Benefits, especially for out-of-area trauma centers, are often much higher than many school options. The availability of acute specialized care is critical if there is a major medical sickness or illness. Although treatment outside of the state will probably not be needed, it's still important to be able to utilize a nationwide network in case it is the best available option. Blue Cross Student Medical plans in Virginia are typically quite affordable and maintain a large provider network.
Another advantage of selecting your own private coverage is the package of "essential health benefits" that are included in all Marketplace plans (in accordance with ACA legislation). Although maternity benefits may not be needed, preventive coverage (annual physical, mammogram, and OBGYN visits), ER, office visits, prescription drugs, and mental illness/counseling are all included.
Depending on the treatment, it may be covered at 100% with no copay, coinsurance or deductible to meet. Outpatient depression, mental health, and substance abuse services are often covered with a copay instead of having to meet a deductible. The savings can easily be thousands of dollars per year. However, inpatient treatment may be subject to the deductible and/or coinsurance. Additional items that are commonly covered include respiratory infections, contraception, skin conditions and rashes, urinary tract infections, fatigue, depression, eating disorders, and accidental injuries.
Obamacare Plans And The ACA
When you purchase your own private student plan, you're not restricted to accept just one standard option. You can customize your policy to include, and meet the needs that you are most likely to utilize. For instance, if you are in extremely good health, and are likely to only use preventive benefits, then an inexpensive "catastrophic" plan with a higher deductible may be the best choice. These plans are ideal for young persons that want the lowest possible premium.
Under the Affordable Care Act legislation, if you are under age 30, you can purchase a "catastrophic" plan. Although some comprehensive benefits are not included, the amount of premium you save may be substantial. Also, many schools offer a fairly inexpensive supplementary policy that works well in conjunction with catastrophic options. These riders are also available to International students if they are legal residents of the US. The supplement may cover accidents, ER visits, and perhaps first-dollar coverage for non-preventative office visits.
Bronze-tier policies should also be reviewed since often they are less expensive, and provide more comprehensive benefits. Often, most office visits and prescriptions only have a copay to meet, instead of a large deductible. They are also eligible to receive federal subsidies (discussed below), whereas catastrophic-tier policies do not qualify for any financial assistance, regardless of your income.
You may also qualify for a generous federal subsidy that reduces the premium. If you are listed as a dependent on a parent's tax-return, a subsidy may still be offered. In less than a minute, we can calculate your subsidy and determine how much each plan will reduce. It is possible your premium will be $0. If you are older than 30, a Bronze or Silver "Metal" plan will have the lowest rates. Since there is no federal exemption for persons in school, it is still a requirement to have in-force healthcare benefits.
Exchange Policies Through Marketplace
The Virginia Health Marketplace (Exchange) plans (you can get free quotes on our website) feature low-cost options that may be ideal for students, especially if there are existing conditions. Since medical questions are no longer part of the enrollment process, an applicant can not be denied because of health history. Only age, residence and smoking preference will factor into the rate. Official Open Enrollment for 2017 effective dates begins on November 1st and ends on January 31st (2017). However, under specific conditions, you can still apply for coverage, or select non-Marketplace plans.
The federal subsidy (as previously mentioned) potentially reduces the premium of your policy cost. Some of the cheapest options are the Anthem HealthKeepers and Optima Vantage plans. Depending on where you live, up to six companies may offer policies. Northern Virginia has one of the widest selections of polices and carriers. Bigger cities, such as Richmond, Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Newport News, Alexandria, Hampton, and Norfolk will offer the most choices. Smaller cities and rural areas, such as Falls Church, Galax, Poquoson, and Martinsville, will have smaller provider networks and less plan availability.
Your own private policy will likely cost hundreds of dollars less per year and provide a much broader coverage if a severe illness or accident were to occur. There will be no lifetime or annual maximum, and most importantly, the network provider list will likely include facilities across the US, instead of local campus facilities. For example, Blue Cross, UnitedHealthcare and Aetna are three major carriers with network reach across the entire country.
This could be critical if specific treatment is necessary and can only be accessed at out-of-state hospitals. There are many specialized cancer treatment centers, facilities and hospitals in Texas and other states. In many situations, the only way to receive treatment is to own your own plan with a national network of providers. For comprehensive treatment of heart disease, cancer, and other diseases, often, specific facilities located outside of your area will be one of the best options. The Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, or Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, are two of the most prominent Cancer Hospitals in the world.
For example, residents of Norfolk and students attending Norfolk State University have easy access to one of the top-rated hospitals in the country -- Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. However, without a statewide network, you may not be eligible to utilize discounted and negotiated network discounts if they are outside of your service area. For ER and hospital visits, it is not unusual to see thousands of dollars of savings by simply taking advantage of negotiated network repricing. Visiting an out-of-network hospital can be quite costly.
Special Enrollment Period (SEP)
Assuming you qualify for an SEP, individual policies can be purchased at any time of the year. If you are dropping off an existing policy, you do not have to wait for an Open Enrollment period. For example, if you were starting classes in mid-term, or perhaps the summer, you can easily apply for a plan. Unless there are citizenship or residency issues, you can receive an approval very quickly. Also, if you moved (your permanent residence), or reached age 26 while covered under a parent's plan, you can enroll for guaranteed coverage at any time. Losing qualified coverage from an employer, dropping off an ex-spouse's plan from a divorce will also qualify for an SEP exception. If you are pregnant, once the baby is delivered he/she will be eligible for an SEP exception.
There is a special 60-day window that allows you to shop for coverage to replace an existing expiring policy. However, if you forgot to enroll, missed the OE deadline, or did not have prior qualified coverage (even if it was terminating), you may be forced to accept non-Marketplace policies. And unless you are eligible for a guaranteed-approval option, you may be forced to accept basic medical coverage (only) until January 1. However, regardless of medical conditions, you can choose any tier (Platinum, Gold, Silver, or Bronze) for the new calendar year.
So what is the best type of policy to buy? One of the biggest factors that must be considered is the requirement of your school. Also, whether you are attending an in-state school, such as UVa, Liberty, George Mason, or William & Mary, or going out-of-state, you still must know what the minimum requirements will be. And these could be quite different, depending upon where you are going. Also, many colleges do not offer their own student medical coverage, although they will require you to provide proof you have enrolled in a suitable plan. Often, a supplementary contract can also be purchased, that helps reduce some out-of-pocket expenses if you are treated at the Campus medical facility.
University Of Virginia Plans
Let's examine the University Of Virginia Student Health Insurance Program, that is administered by Aetna. The premium increase for the 2015-2016 school year was fairly moderate. The Spring/Summer rate (which covers from January 1 to August 14), is $1,621. If you add your spouse, the rate jumps to $3,242. Adding a child to the family bumps the annual premium to $4,863. The price for a family with more than one child is $6,484. NOTE: Both domestic and international students must meet school healthcare hard waiver guidelines. The Elson Student Health Center has copies of guidelines available.
Summer rates are less but the session runs for less than four months. Once you sign up, you can NOT cancel and no refund will be given. It is also important to understand that students, of course, do not have to select this option. And if the "comprehensive Fee" is not paid, then the plan would not be available.
If you need benefits for the entire 12-month period, the price substantially increases. For example, the "student-only" rate becomes $2,613, "spouse only" also becomes $2,613 and family premium increases to more than $10,000. In most situations, if you qualify for a federal Marketplace subsidy, it will cost less than the University plan. Typically, the annual premium must be paid by October 31st if the coverage waiver was not completed and signed. Coverage ends on August 14th.
While the rate is quite high, the routine non-emergency benefits are very good. By utilizing the provider network, a $25 copay is waived for routine office visits. Lab tests and additional services or supplies will also have no out-of-pocket cost. Unlike an HMO, a referral is not necessary, so specialist visits can be scheduled very quickly, if needed.
Changes In UVA Plan
For 2016 and 2017 effective dates, the $1 million cap is now unlimited and the annual deductible of $250 is now $400. Despite the jump, the $400 is less than almost all Silver, Bronze and Catastrophic Metal policies. However, treatment you receive in non-network facilities will cost more, since the coinsurance increases from 30% to 40%. Also, the quarterly billing option has been removed. The maximum out-of-pocket expense (per year) was increased to $4,500 from $4,250 (maximum two per family). Also, expenses from injuries resulting from playing in intercollegiate sports are now covered. Previously, they were excluded.
If you need speech therapy consultations, the cap on the number of covered visits has been removed. An annual eye exam is included on student plans including replacement contact lenses or glasses. If you have small children or infants, pediatric dental and vision benefits are provided.
Additional worldwide travel benefits are now included if you study outside the US. And mental illness and substance abuse are considered covered benefits. Until the Va State Health Exchange became operational in 2014, many private plans did not cover these two items. Now, maternity is also provided, along with complete preventative benefits. And the most recent change was the allowing of same or opposite-sex partners to these plans. Graduate teaching assistants will also be able to utilize this change.
Each student has different needs, budgets and benefit wish lists. To ensure you are receiving the benefits you must have (at the best price, of course), simply review the quotes you receive from this website to determine which policy is the best to apply for. We provide free assistance, or you can use our free information and apply directly for coverage.
More than 200,000 Va residents may have to change their current plans effective January 1, since they do not comply with ACA guidelines. These policies were allowed to renew last year, despite lack of all of the 10 required "essential health benefits." Within the next eight weeks, consumers who fall into this category, will receive mail correspondence advising them their options.
Although some of the 10 mandated coverages (such as maternity), may not be needed, it is still a legal requirement to have these benefits. The federal subsidy will help lower premiums for persons losing "grandfathered" plans, since these older policies often have several limitations and exclusions.