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Going to College? Turning 26? College students have several different health insurance options. Under the Affordable Care Act, every individual is required to hold health insurance, even if you’re a struggling college student. Also, many universities require their students to participate in a qualified health plan prior to enrolling in classes. Most universities and colleges offer their students access to student health plans, but there are several options students should take in consideration when purchasing health insurance.

Students can remain enrolled under their parent’s plans up to the age 26 even if they are:


-Not living with their parents

-Attending school

-Not claimed as a dependent on their parents tax return

-Eligible to enroll in their employer’s plan

If none of these exceptions apply, review your individual options through the marketplace! Even if you have access to student health coverage, you can purchase a plan through the individual marketplace instead. Young college students are typically on a budget and are opposed to spending their money on monthly health insurance premiums that they may never use.

The marketplace offers tax credits that lower monthly premiums to individuals who are eligible. Below is Blue Cross and Blue Shield Tennessee (Chattanooga rating area) example rate for a 26 year old who works part-time and claims $12,500 as his/her modified adjusted gross income.

Students who are ineligible for advanced premium tax credits may still find more affordable individual options. If you’re under 30 years of age, catastrophic plans are available at a lower cost. A catastrophic plan is an affordable way to protect you from worst case scenarios, like a serious illness or injury.

American Exchange has partnered with several universities to facilitate health insurance enrollments for students. For example, James Madison University has completely dissolved their student health insurance coverage because of rising cost and unnecessary administration. Click the hyperlink above to review the simple steps American Exchange and JMU have taken to provide easy enrollment access to their students.

Llew Boyd is a Benefit Consultant at American Exchange specializing in partnerships with Colleges and Universities. You can contact him directly at 888-995-1674 x2004 or by email at