Having a child move away to college can be an exciting yet emotional experience for many parents. However, while making sure your child is registered for classes and has everything they need for his or her dorm room, there’s one detail you don’t want to forget about: making sure your child is adequately covered under a health insurance policy. Of course, if your child is attending an out-of-state school, this can become even more complicated. What can you do to make sure your child has coverage so far from home? We’ve got a few tips.

Consider Your Child’s Age

Start by considering your child’s age, which will determine his or her eligibility for remaining on your current health plan. If your child is 26 years or older, then he or she will not be eligible to remain on your plan. Instead, your child will need to purchase his or her own health plan; in such a situation, the best option for while they’re in school is to enroll in a health care plan offered by the college or university itself.

Check Your Network

If your child is still young enough to remain on your healthcare plan, you’ll want to check and see if there are any physicians and hospitals that are in-network near your child’s campus. Depending on how far away from home they’re going to be moving, there’s a good chance that there won’t be any in-network options. However, you may be able to find a family POS or PPO plan with out-of-network coverage options that could work well.

Consider a School Health Plan

Ideally, a PPO or POS with out-of-state coverage will be your best bet for keeping your child protected on your policy while away at school. However, if you don’t have this option, then you’ll want to review the availability of enrolling your child in a school health plan as a supplement to your health coverage. Keep in mind there will likely be some limitations here; for example, if your child gets sick, he or she will likely only be able to see the health care facilities on campus under the coverage. However, for the relatively low-cost per-semester of these plans, they can be worth the cost to enjoy that added peace of mind for when your student inevitably catches a cold or otherwise becomes sick so far from home.

Child-Only Coverage

In 2014 a major change enacted by the Affordable Care Act made child-only health insurance plans (no adult on the policy) available to children in any state. The parent can take out a plan that is a PPO for just the child while having a plan of their choice for themselves.

As you can see, there’s a lot to keep in mind as you explore health care possibilities for your student. However, by doing so, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision. When you’re ready to review your current plan’s coverage options or shop for a new family plan, visit the AMSA Health Insurance Marketplace or give us a call at (888) 388-7370.