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Does a student health plan have to cover essential health benefits?

It does if it is a “fully insured” student health plan. A fully insured plan is one that your college or university purchases from a health insurance company. If your student health plan is fully insured, it must cover essential health benefits, which include

  • Ambulatory patient services
  • Emergency services
  • Hospitalization
  • Maternity and newborn care
  • Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment
  • Prescription drugs
  • Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
  • Laboratory services
  • Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
  • Pediatric services including oral and vision care

However, if the student health plan is “self-insured,” it might not be required to cover essential health benefits. It’s up to states to regulate self-insured student health plans.  Check with your college or university to find out what type of student health plan they offer, or check with your state insurance regulator to find out what rules apply to your student health coverage.

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.