Health Insurance

Q1: What health insurance can college students
get?

If you are a full-time student or enrolled for
three-quarters or more of a full schedule, you must participate in a Student
Health Program (SHP) or an alternate plan with comparable coverage. SHP plans
generally charge premiums, co-pays, and deductibles. You can get information on
these costs and what the SHP covers from your college.

If you are disabled or a parent with a child, you may be
eligible for MassHealth. MassHealth is less expensive than SHP and covers more.
For information on how to apply for MassHealth, see Apply for MassHealth Coverage on their website.
If you get TAFDC, Emergency Aid for Elders, Disabled and Children (EAEDC) or
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, you are automatically enrolled in
MassHealth.

You may also be eligible for health insurance through
your parents’ plan (until age 26), your spouse’s plan, or health insurance
offered by your employer. You can also try to buy a commercial Commonwealth Choice
health insurance plan. See Health Connector:Health Insurance for Massachusetts Residents for more
information about options.

Q2:  How can I avoid being charged for a
Student Health Program (SHP) plan that I don’t want?

If you are enrolled in MassHealth or have other coverage
that is reasonably comprehensive, you can apply at your school for a waiver of
the SHP participation requirement. You cannot get a waiver if you are enrolled
in a Commonwealth Care health insurance plan. Unless you apply for and are
approved for a waiver, you have to participate in and pay for the SHP.

Be sure to compare the coverage and costs of the SHP
with other coverage you already have or could get before applying for a waiver.

Produced by Deborah Harris, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, and Ruthie Liberman, Crittenton Women’s Union
Created October 2010

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