One of the goals at CampusTalkBlog is to provide you with information that is going to help, inspire and encourage you. There’s an addition to that goal in my little portion of the blog here at Parents’ Perspective and that’s to give you bits and pieces of myself so you can learn from me and feel a certain kinship. Some of my experiences as a first-time college mom, and a parent in general, are rather personal. They are things that I don’t normally share with everyone especially my blogosphere friends (I blog at “It’s a Woman’s World” as well) because I’m either embarrassed, ashamed and, quite frankly, it just ain’t nobody’s business. At least that’s what my mom used to say.
Then it dawned on me: I don’t have the secret life of a stripper by night and a blogger by day. I don’t rob banks or steal cars. I’m not the suburban coke-head mom or selling prescription drugs so if there’s something about me that I can share with others to make a point or segue into some necessary information then I’m going to do that.
For a month or more I’ve wanted to talk to you about health insurance for your college student because I came across a little dilemma on Amber’s 19th birthday. I knew it was coming, but I still hadn’t been able to prepare for it in a proactive way. For the past 19 years all of my children have been on Medicaid. Even when I’ve held a full-time job my children have qualified for Medicaid. As a freelancer who happens to be an Air Force Veteran I don’t have typical medical insurance; I get my medical care at the Veteran’s Association hospital and because I’m not a retired veteran my dependents don’t qualify for medical care.
With Amber turning 19 she no longer qualifies for Medicaid under me because as far as they’re concerned she’s no longer a dependent. So the dilemma for us is finding medical coverage when there isn’t an extra penny in the budget. How does one go about that and what are the options? I’m going to share with you what we’ve done so far and options that may be available to you.
If you’re in a similar circumstance and your children received Medicaid you can rest assured that they can use the health facility on campus for everyday medical concerns without medical coverage. However, they’ll need to have funds available for over-the-counter medications and other recommendations that aren’t covered by the school. The downside of this is if your child needs to go to the emergency room the bill (plus ambulance fees, if applicable) will have to be paid out-of-pocket. Here’s information from Georgia College & State University where Amber attends:
- Outpatient medical care for the treatment of minor illnesses and injuries is provided by Nurse Practitioners.
- A network of referral services are available in the community and used when needed.
- Health information and other types of educational materials are available in the clinic.
Most of the costs involved with receiving care in the clinic is covered by the Health Fee (the health fee at GCSU is $95 per semester). There is no charge for clinic visits and there is no limit to the number of visits to the clinic. Most medications and supplies are provided at no cost to the student. Many lab tests are performed in the clinic at no charge, but there is a charge for specimens sent to outside laboratories.
Some coverage options
For freelancers, like me, who don’t have employers and a health insurance plan then it is prudent to get coverage. There are quite a few companies that offer coverage to small business owners, freelancers and contractors, and you can add your dependents on that. Check out an article I found on FreelanceSwitch.com. it included some comprehensive information and suggestions specifically geared toward freelancers. Be sure to read the comments as there are other suggestions and input there.
Those who have a full-time job can, of course, add family members to their policies. The additional expense may seem astronimical, but in the long run it’ll be worth it. Evaluate where you can cut things in other areas of your budget (and put that money aside) to make up for the increase in premium.
Find a policy/company where your young adult can get their own insurance. It doesn’t hurt to check out this option. They have few expenses and could more than likely swing the premiums if they have a part-time job and no prior major health concerns. If they can’t do it alone then that’s where you come in.
This is just a small sampling of information and things I’ve explored thus far. Stay tuned because I’ll be revisiting this subject to not only update you on our insurance situation, but I’ll also be turning to our CampusTalkBlog and ProSpeakers Bureau experts for their input. In the meantime, leave me a comment with any questions or concerns you have on the health insurance subject as it relates to your college student. I look forward to the dialogue.
First-time college mom