Do College Students Need Health Insurance?

A dorm room. Text books. A meal plan. A bus pass. And some spending money. You’ve got all your bases covered with everything you could possibly need for college, right? Wrong. You should also consider opting for some health insurance.

Sure, you’re as healthy as a horse, but even the healthiest filly or colt has been known to break a leg in a groundhog hole. Thankfully, a broken leg won’t lead to your ultimate demise by gunshot, but it can clean out your bank account–if you’re not covered by insurance.

students health insurance

Yes, healthy and resilient as you are, you could fall victim to an unexpected injury or illness that will need medical attention. And medical attention costs money.

Here are some of the medical woes that commonly befall college students.

Contagious Pathogens

Yes, the air that you breathe and the things that you touch are riddled with bacteria and germs. And some of them can make you very sick. Unless you plan on spending your college years in Hazmat gear, you will run the risk of contracting some form of illness.  The financial fallout could be significant if you have no health insurance.

  • Colds and flu. Usually, a healthy young person will have no problem conquering a cold or bout of influenza, but, occasionally a virulent strain will require medical attention. Chest or sinus infections, pneumonia, or a chronic cough that interferes with your sleep may necessitate a trip to the doctor’s office. And nasty varieties like 2009’s rampant H1N1 virus can lead to even more complications.
  • Meningitis. While most people sail through life without being affected by this possibly life-threatening illness, incidences at college campuses are increasing. And anyone under the age of twenty-one is at the highest risk.
  • Mumps. Contracted through coughing or sneezing, mumps is another virus that an unsuspecting college student could find themselves saddled with.
  • Mononucleosis. Yes, it seems that college students are plagued by diseases that start with the letter “m” and mono is yet another. This lengthy illness leaves you drained of all energy with a fever or sore throat. And roughly 11 to 48 college students out of every 1000 will come down with it. And, as Georgetown University’s “Mono” page states, “a physician can give you a blood test to determine if you have mono”–requiring you to head to the doctor’s office.

Alcoholic Stupor-related Injuries

For some students, “college” and “partying” go hand-in-hand–which, as a result, means that college and alcohol-related injuries also go together. In fact, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, approximately 599,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are injured unintentionally while under the influence of alcohol and 690,000 are injured by a another student who is under the influence. Whether you trip in your stilettos, fall off a curb, or wind up in a bar fight, you may find yourself facing a hefty hospital bill if you’re uninsured.

Sexual Assault

According to the White House Fact Sheet, “Not Alone: Protecting Students from Sexual Assault,” one in five women is sexually assaulted while in college. That is a staggering number. And, unfortunately, sexual assault can lead not only to psychological scarring, but it can also lead to physical injury, STDs, and pregnancy–all of which could lead to soaring medical bills.

Insurance Against Unforeseen Circumstances

Every day you assume a certain degree of risk just by getting out of bed. Accidents can happen anywhere–in your dorm, at school, or somewhere in between. You could burn yourself while cooking, break an arm during a fall, get hit in the head with a fly ball, or accidentally step out in front of a car. You are not covered in bubble wrap. You do not have a superhuman immune system. And you are vulnerable to the same ailments as everyone else.

Health insurance is a must-have for people of all ages. If you are concerned about the costs associated with your coverage, “Health Insurance for Students” provides a plethora of helpful hints regarding alternatives, eligibility, and securing quotes.

Whatever you do, remember that you are not invincible. And fixing you requires money.

Did you fall ill or become injured during college? What type of medical attention did you require? Was it covered by insurance?

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I am a freelance writer, avid blogger, illustrator, and aspiring novelist who thinks the world is a terribly funny place filled with bizarre things to observe--and, of course, comment on. You can follow her somewhat neurotic and OCD ramblings at The Embiggens Project and at Searching for Barry Weiss.

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