Pennsylvania Insurance Department Urges Parents To Consider Coverage Needs Before College StartsAug 21st, 2009 | By Hot News Reporter | Category: Insurance Today
As college classes are set to begin, Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Joel Ario reminded parents to consider their family’s changing insurance needs.
“Hundreds of thousands of young Pennsylvanians will be heading to college in the next few weeks,” Commissioner Ario reported. “It can be a hectic and emotional time, but in the rush to begin the semester, parents should take time to review insurance coverage needs.”
The Insurance Department offers these tips to help consumers review and update policies from health, to property and auto insurance:
Health: Many health insurance policies cover dependents who are full-time students until the age of 23. Pennsylvania law recently changed to expand health coverage for children of insured parents. It allows adults up to age 30, under certain conditions, to remain covered by their parents’ employer group health insurance. The coverage expansion occurs at the discretion of the employer. Individual policies differ, so check with the insurance provider or benefits administrator about age or full-time student status questions.
Many schools offer student health insurance plans which are sold by companies that have contracted with a college to offer coverage to its students. Generally, these plans have limited benefits and may exclude certain injuries and types of coverage. Consumers should read all the fine print and be sure that they are dealing with a licensed insurance entity.
Also, students should have a copy of all relevant insurance cards and know how to obtain referrals and approvals, if necessary, before seeking treatment. If care is covered by a provider network, check to see if the student will be outside the network service area while away at school. If the insurer contracts with a preferred provider organization (PPO), the insurer may pay benefits at out-of-network levels. Check plan provisions to find out what level of benefits is provided and what the out-of-pocket costs might be.
Property: Students take thousands of dollars worth of personal items with them to school. Whether a student is living in a dorm or off campus, consumers should review their homeowner’s policy to see whether a student’s computer, electronics and other personal items will be covered. Consumers may want to consider renter’s insurance to protect a student’s personal property in the event that it is damaged, destroyed or stolen.
Auto: If a student is taking a car to school, check the existing insurance policy. Ask about the rates for the college’s city and state before deciding whether to keep the student’s car on the family’s auto policy. In addition, the insurance company should be notified each semester if the student maintains good grades. Maintaining a certain G.P.A. might make your child eligible for a good-student discount.
“Parents recognize that college is a life-changing experience for students and their families,” concluded Ario. “That’s why it is important to make sure that insurance protections remain in place.”