Student Health Insurance In Colorado for 2023

WRITTEN BY: Craig Sturgill


Colorado has high elevations, and if you’re not used to them, it could lead to health problems. The state also has shown to be more prone to mental health issues with students, so having healthcare is essential. You need to invest in your healthcare as a student in Colorado. You never know when there might be a medical emergency.

As a new student, you may not know your health insurance coverage options. Here is a guide to help you find differing medical policies to choose the best option for your needs.

What are the Colorado health insurance options available for students?

There are several health student insurance options for those living and attending school in Colorado. You may not have eligibility for some, but here are the options available for students.

  • College or university plans: college or university student health insurance can be beneficial. You’ll save on high out-of-pocket expenses, but you may need to be cautious of whether providers are in-network. Enrollment in these plans usually occurs in the fall semester.
  • Parent’s insurance plan: If you’re under 26, your parents can keep you on their existing medical insurance. Colorado State law says this applies even if you’re married or have children.
  • Marketplace plans: The exchange allows you to sign up for your student health insurance plan. They are available through the Affordable Care Act. Colorado students can access and sign-up quickly online through
  • Medicaid: There are free or low-cost Medicaid options for students. You need to meet eligibility requirements for income to qualify for these health plans.
  • Catastrophic health plans: Catastrophic or CYA plans have low monthly premiums with high deductibles. These plans help students in a high-cost emergency.
  • Short-term health plans: Consider a short-term plan if you only want coverage during the school year. These insurance carriers provide health coverage for up to six months.
  • Employer-sponsored health plans: As a working student in Colorado, your employer may offer health insurance coverage. It may be cheaper for you than getting a
  • Private insurance plans: Students can look to private insurance companies off-exchange. They can contact a private insurer or broker to purchase a plan.

Benefits of student health insurance

There are several advantages to student health insurance in Colorado. Your health and wellness are elements of your academic success. Avoiding health issues and detecting problems ahead of time is key to keeping your health in check.

Another benefit is you can save on costs for the coverage you need. Many student insurance plans through school are more affordable than those on the Marketplace. And you’re covered all year, not just during the school year.

Rules for Colorado health insurance for students

Some colleges and universities in Colorado may require students to have health insurance coverage. For example, Colorado State University requires full-time domestic and international students to carry health insurance.

These schools require student health insurance to protect your educational investment. Some situations may prohibit your ability to continue in school.

There may be additional rules if you stay on your parent’s plan. Check with the Colorado State Department of Insurance or your parent’s carrier.

Did the state implement the ACA’s Medicaid expansion?

Medicaid expansion in Colorado went into effect on January 1, 2014. The expansion under the Affordable Care Act has grown to more than half of those living in Colorado. It could be due to the ACA insurance requirement. It also may be access to health equity was more affordable, especially for college students on a budget.

Colorado ACA Open Enrollment dates

The Enrollment Period for medical insurance in Colorado runs from November 1 to January 15 each year. There are exceptions for you to enroll outside of the period. Some examples include marriage, the birth of a child, or another qualifying life event.

Colleges or universities may have varying enrollment periods. For instance, CU Denver’s Enrollment or Waiver period is from May 29 to June 13.

Are health insurance subsidies available?

Colorado to have health insurance subsidies available. The Federal Poverty Guidelines determine subsidy amounts. Those who earn at least 139% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) can receive assistance on their plan.

What to consider when choosing Colorado student health insurance plans

Student health insurance in Colorado can be a lifesaver to help avoid high expenses. It provides affordable access to doctors, hospitals, and prescription drugs.

There are several things to consider when looking for student health insurance. Below are some questions to ask and answer in your search.

Are you going to school in-state or out-of-state?

Where you go to school may determine your health plan options. The University of Colorado has plans to cover 85% to 90% of premiums, so it’s affordable for students. The location of your school and whether it’s in Colorado makes a difference in your cost.

Are you considered someone’s dependent?

If you’re under 26, your parent or legal guardian can claim you as an independent. It applies whether you stay on a parent’s plan or purchase your own. But you don’t qualify for subsidies if you’re considered someone’s dependent.

Will you stay on your parent’s health insurance plan or enroll on your own?

It may be easier to stay with your parent’s existing health plan. But you may have trouble locating network providers at school. Finding a health center within your school with in-network providers may be more manageable.

What type of student health insurance plans are cheaper?

There are many factors determining your health insurance premiums. It would be best to compare student health plans with your school through the Marketplace exchange and other companies. Comparing rates across insurers and eligibility for discounts can help get you the cheapest insurance plan.

What student health plans offer the best coverage?

If your school in Colorado offers a student health plan, it most likely counts as qualifying coverage. You may need more than basic insurance coverage, depending on your health needs. You may find better health insurance coverage through the Marketplace exchange.

What happens if you don’t have student health insurance coverage?

There is no requirement in Colorado to have a health plan. You also don’t have to pay the penalty without student health insurance. If you don’t have insurance, devise a plan to cover your medical expenses.

You can’t be sure when you’re going to need healthcare. Obtaining a student health plan can be the best preventative measure.

How to get Colorado student health insurance coverage

Obtaining health insurance coverage in Colorado can be simple. You may want to check out coverage through your school and the ACA and see benefits if you stay with a parent’s plan. Comparing rates and plans for the best costs and coverage is crucial.

How to get coverage on your parent’s health insurance plan

If your parents have an existing medical plan, they may be able to add you to their plan. You don’t have to do anything if you’re already on a parent’s plan. But you can only be on a parent’s plan if you’re under 26. If you receive health coverage through your parents, it may be more expensive than other options.

Getting health insurance from your school

Check with your college or university for existing student health plans. The school may require certain credit hours to qualify for a health plan. You should ensure the plan offers essential benefits outlined by the ACA.

You may be able to enroll in a Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP), which varies depending on your school. The University of Northern Colorado provides Cigna, for example. It comes with a $500 deductible annually and pays 80% of in-network medical expenses.

Getting student health insurance coverage through the ACA

You have a few options if you opt to go through the Affordable Care Act in Colorado:

  • Apply with Parent: As long as you’re under 26, you can remain on your parent’s health plan.
  • Apply by Yourself: You can buy a policy through Connect for Health Colorado Marketplace. Multiple policies are available for students with a variety of coverage.’
  • Federal Subsidy: ACA federal subsidy limits what you pay for insurance premiums. Your income determines your eligibility for these tax credits.

Getting student health insurance coverage from Medicaid

Medicaid is a state-run, federally-funded program. You can get low to no-cost healthcare if you’re not dependent on your parent’s tax return. Colorado State offers Health First Colorado for its Medicaid program.

CHP+ is another solution if you can’t get Medicaid. Your income in Colorado needs to be under 260% of the FPL. CHP+ covers primary care, urgent care, emergency care, and more.

What other student health insurance options are available in Colorado?

A couple of other options for student health insurance in Colorado include:

  • Short-term plans: these plans offer short-term health coverage at more affordable rates. But they can exclude important benefits, like preventive services.
  • Catastrophic health plans: a Catastrophic plan can be beneficial if you’re under 30 and meet the criteria for financial hardships. These exemptions include family death, foreclosure, and bankruptcy. They have high deductibles but can save you money on emergency medical needs.

Cheapest student health insurance plans in Colorado

Finding the cheapest student health plan can take some time. It would be best to compare rates and plans across multiple insurers to find the most affordable coverage. But you must ensure you have the proper coverage for your medical needs.

Below are some average plan costs in Colorado for students.

Cheapest health insurance plan for students with low out-of-pocket maximums 

Students with more medical expenses may benefit from a plan with low out-of-pocket maximums. It costs more in monthly premiums, but you reach your limit sooner. Then your insurance provider covers costs earlier.

Rocky Mountain Health Plan with Monument ONE Gold 2500 Rx Copay is the cheapest plan on average. The deductible is $2,500 for an individual with an out-of-pocket limit of $5,000. For a student, the cost averages around $325 monthly.

Cheapest student health insurance plan with high out-of-pocket maximums 

Lower monthly premiums may be more appealing for students in Colorado. You don’t have to spend a lot monthly, but you may pay more out-of-pocket if you have an emergency.

Bright Health in Colorado is the most affordable insurance carrier. The Bronze 8550 Rx Copay plan averages $214 monthly.

Cheapest student health insurance plan with an HSA option

A Health Savings Account (HSA) plan can be beneficial if you don’t visit your doctor often. Students in Colorado can benefit from lower premiums and make pre-tax contributions for emergencies.

HSA plans are available for students in Expanded Bronze and Silver tiers. The cheapest HSA health insurance plans in Colorado for each level are:

  • The Bronze 6850 HSA provided by Bright Health, at an average of $300 per month
  • The Silver 3500 HSA provided by Bright Health, at an average of $348 per month

Cheapest HMO/EPO health insurance plans available for students 

Colorado mainly contains Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans. These are less expensive than other types. There are some Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) plans as well.

HMO plans need referrals for specialists, so you need to ensure providers’ use in-network. Colorado Doctors Plan Silver 3 Free Visits 4000 from Rocky Mountain Health is the cheapest. The cost averages around $350 monthly

The EPO plan offered by Bright Health is the Silver 5000 Rx Copay. It averages around $335 monthly for an individual.


Can students buy health insurance in Colorado?

Students in Colorado have many options when purchasing medical insurance. They can be on a parent’s plan, buy their plan through the Marketplace, or obtain coverage through their school.

Does CU Denver offer health insurance for students?

CU Denver offers student health insurance to those in eligible programs taking one or more credit hours. Students are automatically enrolled unless they provide a waiver and get approval.

Does CSU offer health insurance to students?

Colorado State University’s (CSU) Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) is for students. Domestic and international students can be eligible. There is no copay, deductible, or coinsurance for most provider services.

What is the average cost of health insurance for students in Colorado?

The average health insurance cost for Colorado students is $320 per month. However, the cost varies depending on the student’s medical needs and plan. There are plenty of low to no-cost medical options available as well.

What are the benefits of student health insurance in Colorado?

Student health insurance plans in Colorado provide several benefits. Those advances include lower costs, more coverage, and access to providers.

Finding student health insurance in Colorado

Health insurance should still be a priority for everything students must pay for at college or university. Medical emergencies and mental health problems are common in Colorado’s elevations.

If your school offers a student health plan, it can be an easy and affordable way to get health insurance. You can also waive a college health plan to stay on a parent’s or purchase your low-cost plan for affordable coverage. Compare rates and coverage options to find the best plan for your needs.