Health Insurance for Your Child in College: Beware!

This morning while walking my dog, I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts (NPR On Health) and heard a story about paying double health insurance for your child in college. The same thing happened to me a few years ago. And I'm so glad that I can now share it with more than just the friends I talk to on a regular basis. If you have a child in college - or will have one in college soon - it's important for you to know about.

Many times college kids are covered by their parents' health plans. But sometimes parents end up paying for an additional policy through the college - and this usually slips by them and can cost an additional and unnecessary extra sum, sometimes a couple of thousand a year. Instead of having not enough or no coverage, they have TOO much coverage.

This happened to us, and I didn't realize it until many years into my (second) son's college education. One day I happened to take a look at his college bill and noticed an entry that said 'health coverage.' Why neither my husband nor I ever noticed it before is a mystery to me. After a few back-and-forth calls to the school, I finally got someone on the phone who gave me an answer: if I could show proof of insurance, I could elect to have this charge waived. I quickly got on it - but unfortunately we could not get reimbursed for all the past charges that we unknowingly paid. I kicked myself for not noticing it sooner, and realized that I was probably paying double insurance all through my older son's four years of college, too.

So, parents, make sure to read the statements from college. Sometimes this charge is buried in the tuition. Or you might assume (like I did) that this health coverage is necessary. The coverage you have for your child may work a bit differently in college - they might have to pay upfront in cash and then file for reimbursement - but the extra time and effort is well worth it, and can potentially save you a few thousand dollars a year.

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Uninsured? Underinsured? There are health care options available to you and your family. Learn about them in our Health Insurance Topic


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