Student Health Insurance In Hawaii For 2023

WRITTEN BY: Craig Sturgill


With their heavy courseloads and high tuition costs, it can be easy for college students to put healthcare insurance coverage on the back burner until needed. If you or your child are preparing to attend college in Hawaii, read more about the available health insurance options, healthcare rules for Hawaii students, and more.

What are the Hawaii health insurance options available for students?

Going without health insurance in Hawaii means you will be responsible for covering the total cost of any medical care you receive, including emergencies. Fortunately, Hawaii students have many medical insurance options to choose from:

Hawaii students can also enroll in catastrophic health plans, employer-sponsored health plans, private insurance plans, and short-term health plans.

Benefits of student health insurance

While health insurance may seem unnecessary to thrifty co-eds, a student health insurance plan can save money. Even if a student rarely visits the doctor, good health insurance coverage protects against catastrophic medical expenses if an emergency occurs.

Rules for Hawaii health insurance for students

Some Hawaii colleges may require students to enroll in some form of health insurance coverage. Many universities also require international student health insurance. Check with the admissions office to learn more about the university’s health insurance requirements.

For example, the University of Hawaii offers HMSA (Hawaii Medical Service Association, Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Hawaii) four options for undergraduate and graduate students. Each option provides medical and prescription drug coverage, mental health, medical evacuation, and more. Students also have the opportunity to purchase dental and Repatriation, Life Insurance, and other benefits.

Did the state implement the ACA’s Medicaid expansion?

Hawaii adopted Medicaid expansion through the Affordable Care Act in January 2014, extending eligibility for Medicaid to adults with qualifying incomes. Hawaii consistently has low uninsured rates and high overall health scores, ranking among the healthiest states in recent years.

Hawaii ACA Open Enrollment dates

Hawaii’s Open Enrollment period opens on November 1, 2022, and closes on January 15, 2023. However, you may still apply for a healthcare plan after the enrollment deadline with a qualifying life event, such as getting married or having a baby.

What to consider when choosing Hawaii student health insurance plans

Consider your unique health needs and budget when shopping for a health insurance policy. Ask yourself the following questions to help narrow down the best coverage options.

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

If you’re moving to Hawaii to attend college and already have health insurance, consider your current network’s coverage. Some doctors and hospitals in your new location may not accept your insurance.

Are you considered someone’s dependent?

Many medical plans, like the health insurance plans offered through the Marketplace, determine eligibility using household income. If you’re considered a dependent on someone’s taxes, your eligibility for healthcare plans relies on that person’s income.

Are you going to stay on your parent’s health insurance plan or enroll on your own?

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) allows children to remain on their parent’s plan until they turn 26. However, if you stay on your parent’s plan and your doctors in your college location aren’t in-network, you’re better off enrolling in new coverage or opting only to visit the doctor when you’re home.

What type of student health insurance plans are cheaper?

Your most cost-effective student health insurance plan will depend on your budget and medical care needs. For example, if you opt for a plan with a high deductible but need routine care, you will pay more over time. As you shop for student health insurance in Hawaii, consider all costs, such as coinsurance, copayments, deductibles, premiums, and out-of-pocket expenses.

What student health plans offer the best coverage?

As you explore your student health plan options in Hawaii, pay special attention to each plan’s coverage options. When comparing coverage across plans, consider covered services, your provider network, and the network of doctors and hospitals you can access for care.

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

If you don’t have health insurance coverage in the event of a medical emergency, you risk paying expensive medical bills. Even if you’re in good health, it’s best to have health coverage in place, just in case something happens.

How to get Hawaii student health insurance coverage

College students in Hawaii have many options for health insurance, and enrollment eligibility and processes will vary by plan type. Before enrolling in a student health insurance plan, learn more about each plan’s benefits to ensure you make the best decision for your budget and medical needs.

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

Regardless of your student status, the ACA allows you to remain on your parent’s plan until you turn 26. If you’re not turning 26 shortly, you may not need to take any enrollment steps now. However, if you’re attending college away from home, make sure that your city’s providers accept your insurance.

Getting health insurance from your school

Some colleges in Hawaii offer health plans for eligible students. For example, the University of Hawaii in Honolulu provides the HMSA Student Health Plan. This plan allows students to select a health care provider and receive care from the student health center or any HMSA participating health care provider from an extensive network. Check to see if your university offers student health services.

Getting student health insurance coverage through the ACA

Depending on your age and tax dependency, you may enroll in an ACA health plan through the federal health insurance Marketplace at Unless you have a qualifying life event, you may register or change an existing plan during Open Enrollment.

Getting student health insurance coverage from Medicaid

Hawaii students not claimed as tax dependents that meet qualifying income requirements may be eligible for low-cost coverage through Hawaii’s Medicaid program, Med-QUEST, or Hawaii’s Children’s Health Insurance Plan.

What are other student health insurance options available in Hawaii?

Hawaii students may also enroll in catastrophic health plans, employer-sponsored health plans, private insurance plans, and short-term health plans.

Catastrophic plans cost less than Marketplace plans but have higher deductibles. They’re generally for people under 30 that can’t afford traditional plans or have a special hardship. Students can also enroll in employer-sponsored plans through their workplace, private insurance, and short-term health plans: low-cost plans that don’t cover essential health benefits or pre-existing conditions.

Cheapest Student Health Insurance Plans In Hawaii

Finding cheap health insurance in Hawaii depends on many factors: coverage options, frequency of medical care, and more. Depending on your healthcare needs, you may find the cheapest insurance involves low premiums or low-out of pocket maximums.

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

If you need prescription drugs or frequent doctor visits, you’ll benefit from a medical plan with a low out-of-pocket maximum. In Hawaii, the cheapest plan with a low-out of-pocket max is the KP HI Platinum 0/10 by Kaiser Permanente.

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

If you generally only visit the doctor for routine checkups, enrolling in a plan with a high out-of-pocket maximum is best. However, remember that the costs will be higher if a medical emergency occurs. The cheapest health insurance plan in Hawaii with a high out-of-pocket max is the HMSA Catastrophic Plan by HMSA.

Cheapest student health insurance plan with an HSA option

Another good option for Hawaii students in good health is a health insurance plan with an HSA option. This plan acts as a tax-free saving account for future medical expenses. In Hawaii, the most affordable plan with an HSA option is the HMSA Bronze PPO HSA offered by HMSA.

Cheapest HMO/PPO health insurance plans available for students 

Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans are common in Hawaii, but Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans are also available. HMOs are cheaper than PPOs but require in-network care and referrals to see specialists. PPOs offer a more comprehensive network and no specialist referrals but cost more than HMOs.

Hawaii’s cheapest HMO and PPO plans include:

  • HMO: KP HI Silver 4000/45 by Kaiser Permanente
  • PPO: HMSA Silver PPO 3500 by HMSA

Student Health Insurance in Hawaii FAQs

Can students buy health insurance in Hawaii?

Students in Hawaii have many health insurance options: ACA, student health plans, and more.

Is there a penalty for students not having health insurance in Hawaii?

Hawaii doesn’t require health insurance by law, but some universities may require their students to have it as a condition of enrollment.

What are the requirements for student health insurance in Hawaii?

Student health insurance requirements in Hawaii will vary by the university. Check with your admissions office for details.

Finding student health insurance in Hawaii

In Hawaii, students have many options for healthcare coverage. As you explore different plans, compare the costs with your preferences and budget so you can enroll in the best coverage to suit your needs.