Along with books and research papers and exams, college students now have to worry about health insurance. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) aka Obamacare requires all citizens and lawfully present immigrants to acquire health insurance, qualify for an exemption to the law, or pay a penalty on their taxes. That goes for college students, too. So, let’s take a look at your options.


Mom’s or Dad’s plan: Under Obamacare young adults can stay on a parent’s policy until they turn 26. Being a dependent under a parent’s plan will cost significantly less than purchasing your own policy. Considering tuition costs, this may be a good option if you’re a penny-pinching college student.

University plan: Check with your college or university to see if they offer student health insurance. Some use funds collected from tuition, books, and lodging to help lower the student premium costs. Most of student plans comply with Obamacare. Contact the insurance company directly to make sure the policy meets Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) standards set by the healthcare law.

Employer sponsored health insurance: If you’re a college student with a job, you should know that some employers offer health insurance to their part-time employees. Most employers will pay a percentage of your monthly premiums.  Check with your supervisor or HR department to see if your company offers health insurance.  If so, request a copy of the benefits package to help you better understand your options.

Marketplace plan: The healthcare Marketplace lets you browse plans offered by several companies. Depending on your income, and whether you are being claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return, you may be eligible for Obamacare subsidies or a cost-sharing reduction. Healthy college students in particular may be interested in a catastrophic plan, due to the low monthly premiums. If you’re in an especially low income bracket, the Marketplace may instruct you to apply for Medicaid.

If you don’t earn enough to be required to file a tax return, you likely will be exempt from an Obamacare penalty. That doesn’t mean that you can’t explore healthcare coverage options. Chances are, you have access to some form of coverage.

If you need help enrolling in health insurance, contact a Liberty Tax® office for in-person assistance. For more information, visit our website on Healthcare and Your Taxes. You may also call our ACA Hotline at 800-673-8600.


-- By Alice Robeson