“It comes down to cost,” she said.
(Healthcare.gov, the federal health insurance marketplace, offers guidance for college students seeking A.C.A. coverage. Because of the pandemic, a special enrollment period for 2021 marketplace coverage was extended until Aug. 15.)
Fourteen states and the District of Columbia have their own marketplaces, and their deadlines vary. But if you miss a deadline, you’ll probably qualify for a special enrollment period anyway if you are going away to college, Ms. Collins said.
The mental health of college students has been an increasing concern. Families should carefully check details of coverage for behavioral health therapy, including counseling, said John Dunkle, senior clinical director of higher education at the Jed Foundation, which works to prevent suicide among teenagers and young adults.
Because of state licensing rules, he said, students going out of state to college may not be able to receive therapy remotely from their regular counselor, even if they participated in virtual care from home during the pandemic. Parents of students with known mental health issues can contact campus counseling centers over the summer to plan for care when the semester starts, Mr. Dunkle said.
“It’s great to have a provider at home,” he said, “but get one set up at school.”
Some colleges arrange for students receiving financial aid package to have it cover health premiums, but others may not. Check with your college’s financial aid office to be sure.
Here are some questions and answers about college health insurance:
How do I opt out of campus health insurance?
Students typically must submit a request to waive college coverage and include a copy of their insurance card — often by a date that falls during the summer or at the start of the fall semester. “You can’t waive it after the deadline,” said Brendan Williams, senior director of consulting at uAspire, a nonprofit group that works to make college more affordable. So make sure you check your bill to avoid getting stuck with coverage you don’t need. Many colleges bill students in the fall for coverage for both the fall and spring semesters.
You typically must submit a waiver request each year that you enroll.
Can we buy a campus health plan in addition to our family health insurance plan?
If your student is covered by a college plan as well as another health plan, the campus plan will typically pay first for any care needed by the student, with the other plan paying as secondary coverage, said Ms. Marks of Academic HealthPlans.