UPDATED: APRIL 11, 2023 | 3 MIN READ
As a young, healthy college student, skipping annual doctor visits is easy. Healthcare can also be challenging for students on a budget. But, going without healthcare coverage in Alaska is not the best idea.
Your school may require you to have coverage under necessary health insurance plans. But you may not be aware of all the available options. This article guides you through those options in Alaska to help you make the right choice.
What Are the Alaska Health Insurance Options Available For Students?
Some options as a student may be more accessible for you, such as staying on your parent’s insurance plan. Here are some of the health insurance options for students in Alaska:
- College or university plans: You should check with your college or university. They may offer affordable medical insurance coverage options. But they may not cover services off-campus, in-network, or at their student health center.
- Parents’ insurance plan: By law, you can stay on your parent’s plan until age 26. Ask your parents or check with the insurance company for eligibility.
- Marketplace plans: You can purchase your health plan through the Affordable Care Act at Healthcare.gov.
- Medicaid: There are no- or low-cost medical care options based on age and income. You can get them through the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.
- Catastrophic health plans: These high-deductible plans are for students under 30. They help cover severe illnesses or accidents at a cheaper monthly cost.
- Short-term health plans: Short-term health insurance plans are also available. They can be renewed for three years (36 months), covering up to 364 days.
- Employer-sponsored health plans: You may sometimes be working while attending school. Employers may provide health insurance policies for part-time and full-time staff.
Benefits of student health insurance
Depending on the health plan you choose, there are added benefits. For instance, a program through your college or university provides coverage all year, not just during the school year. School-sponsored plans may also cover you no matter where you go within Alaska.
Rules For Alaska Health Insurance For Students
The federal health law states Alaskans can’ stay on their parent’s plan until age 26. It applies regardless of school enrollment. Other states may have additional rules for dependency eligibility. Check with the Alaska State Department of Insurance or your parents’ carrier.
Did the state implement the ACA’s Medicaid expansion?
Alaska did implement the ACA Medicaid expansion. It took effect on September 2015. The expansion gives Medicaid coverage to those with income up to 138% of the Federal Poverty Level.
Alaska ACA Open Enrollment dates
Alaska natives who want to go through the healthcare Marketplace must do so during enrollment. The Open Enrollment Period for individuals and family health coverage is from November 1 to January 15 in Alaska.
Are health insurance subsidies available?
You may qualify for health insurance subsidies through the Marketplace. The insurance plans with premium tax credits are known as subsidized coverage. Eligibility depends on meeting certain income levels.
What To Consider When Choosing Alaska Student Health Insurance Plans
There are many things for you to consider when choosing a student health insurance plan. Some questions you’ll want to ask yourself before choosing your policy include the following:
Are you going to school in-state or out-of-state?
Most schools offering insurance coverage provide your medical care throughout the state. So, a school-sponsored policy may not work if you live out of state or vice versa.
If you’re on a family members’ insurance plan, it can cover you no matter where you attend school. Check for in-network providers near your school.
Are you considered someone’s dependent?
Your parents can claim you as a dependent. You can’t get subsidies on a Marketplace medical care plan if they do. It may be easier to keep coverage under their plan.
Are you going to stay on your parent’s health insurance plan or enroll on your own?
You can stay on your parents’ plan until age 26. But you may be missing out on more affordable premiums. If you choose a student health insurance plan, you can get subsidies to lower your premiums.
What type of student health insurance plans are cheaper?
Low-cost and free Medicaid coverage is eligible based on your or your family member’s income. Catastrophic plans also have low premiums but don’t qualify for subsidies. Comparing rates across many carriers would be best to find the most affordable plan.
What student health plans offer the best coverage?
The best coverage plans are those following the ACA requirements. These plans are required to cover preexisting conditions, such as diabetes. They also cover health benefits, including prescription drugs, hospital care, and emergency services.
What happens if you don’t have student health insurance coverage?
The state of Alaska doesn’t require you to have health insurance coverage. You won’t have to pay penalties if you skip buying a plan.
How To Get Alaska Student Health Insurance Coverage
There are many avenues students can take to enroll in a health plan. Depending on your situation, a specific type of plan may be more accessible. Here are different routes you can take to obtain health insurance coverage as a student.
How to get coverage on your parent’s health insurance plan
Your parents can add you to their existing medical care plan during the Open Enrollment Period. There are exceptional circumstances where to be added outside of the period. And, you qualify to be on your parent’s plan, even if you don’t live in the same household.
Getting health insurance from your school
In Alaska, schools offer student health plans if you enroll for a minimum number of credit hours. The coverage plans vary by school; some combine costs with other school fees. You can use your financial aid to pay for them.
For example, the Student Health and Counseling Center (SHCC) at the University of Alaska Anchorage provides routine healthcare services to eligible students with at least one credit. SHCC is an in-network provider for Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield. The charge is $36.50 per credit per semester.
Getting student health insurance coverage through the ACA
You can purchase an ACA-compliant plan in Alaska through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Qualifications may depend on your income and the coverage plan you need.
Getting student health insurance coverage from Medicaid
Medicaid in Alaska is under DenaliCare and provides coverage for people with disabilities or low income. They go through the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. The Medicaid expansion covers individuals ages 19 to 64 under 138% of the FPL. If you earn too much for Medicaid, you may still qualify for the Alaska Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
What other student health insurance options are available in Alaska?
American Indian or Alaska Native community individuals can get coverage through the state’s extensive tribal health system. It includes the Indian Health Service (IHS), urban Indian health, and tribal programs. Check with your college to determine if you meet the health insurance requirements with one of these plans.
Catastrophic plans are also available if you’re under 30. It’s a good option if you suffer from severe health problems. They are available through the Marketplace at affordable monthly premiums. You generally have to pay for services out-of-pocket before coverage kicks in.
Cheapest Student Health Insurance Plans In Alaska
There are many varying student health plans in Alaska. Comparing rates is the best way to ensure you find the right coverage at the right price. Here are some of Alaska’s cheapest student health insurance plans by out-of-pocket costs, HSA, and metal tier options.
Cheapest health insurance plan for students with low out-of-pocket maximums
If you have frequent health problems, you may want a health plan with a low out-of-pocket maximum. It saves money despite the higher monthly premium. Your insurer covers medical expenses sooner.
The cheapest plan with low out-of-pocket maximums is Premera Blue Cross Preferred Gold 1500 in Alaska. The monthly premium averages $608 monthly.
Cheapest student health insurance plan with high out-of-pocket maximums
Low-premium plans have high out-of-pocket maximums. You’ll pay more for a medical emergency. But for students who are young and in good health, it’s more cost-effective.
The Premera Blue Cross Preferred Bronze plan is the cheapest of these plans on average. The cost is around $362 monthly for students.
Cheapest student health insurance plan with an HSA option
Health Savings Accounts (HSA) can help you by making pre-tax contributions. You can pay for things like prescription drugs or co-pays.
The expanded Bronze and Silver tiers have HSA options. The cheapest plans are the Premera Blue Cross Preferred Bronze 5800 HSA and Premera Blue Cross Preferred Silver 3000 HSA. They cost around $440/month and $675/month, respectively.
Cheapest PPO health insurance plans available for students
Alaska only offers Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans. The cheapest PPO plan is in the Silver Tier for students. It’s the Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield Preferred Silver, at nearly $675 monthly.
Can a student take health insurance in Alaska?
Students can get health insurance in Alaska through the Marketplace. There are also options to stay on a family member’s health plan or see if their college or university provides healthcare options.
Is student health insurance expensive in Alaska?
Depending on your healthcare needs, health insurance costs vary. Students can get coverage from an employer, stay on a parent’s plan, register through Obamacare, or go through their school. It’s helpful to compare rates and coverage options.
Is student health insurance required in Alaska?
The state of Alaska doesn’t require you to have health insurance by law. You have the option to be uninsured if you wish. But you risk costly medical bills if you do need care.
Who is eligible for student health insurance in Alaska?
Full-time students ages 17 to 29 years are eligible for student health insurance. Some of these plans, such as the Student Health Plan, have advantages. They stay with you even if you decide to leave the state.
Can you get health insurance for a student in Alaska?
Some colleges do provide their health plans. You can get health insurance, but many of these plans are limited. They don’t cover services off-campus or for part-time students.
Finding Student Health Insurance In Alaska
As a new student, moving to a new place or beginning your studies in an unfamiliar location can be overwhelming. The added concern of finding the right health insurance plan shouldn’t have to add to your stress.
There are many avenues to finding student health insurance. Sign up online, stay on your parents’ existing health insurance, or get your plan through the school. Compare rates across your options, and use helpful tools and resources to help locate the best student plan.