College Student Health Insurance in non-home state

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Dinosaur Dad
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College Student Health Insurance in non-home state

Post by Dinosaur Dad »

Am trying to help a friend on this one.

Friend lives in New Jersey with his son. Son has medical insurance through NJ Family Health (medicaid), which is basically a NJ-based HMO without out of network coverage. Due to low family income, this coverage is provided at no cost to my friend and his son.

When son leaves for college in Massachusetts in August, my understanding is that NJ Family Health will pay only for emergency room. His new school is saying that he must have "full" coverage in Massachusetts, and is asking for verification of coverage. If it doesn't meet their requirement, they're saying he has to spend over $2,000/year to enroll in school-sponsored "full" coverage in Massachusetts. This would be a huge financial burder on an already-strapped family (son was able to get a big scholarship and is already taking out significant loans).

Anyone out there have the same issue? I've seen a few threads, situation seems pretty discouraging.

Appreciate any experiences or advice. Thank you.
"Take calculated risks - that is quite different from being rash." | General George S. Patton
rogue_economist
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Re: College Student Health Insurance in non-home state

Post by rogue_economist »

This is pretty normal for reputable colleges. And no, a student should not be alone in another state without medical insurance.

$2000 a year is cheap, for a four year degree that is only $8000. Treat it as part of the cost of doing business and put it on the loan if needed. If his college choice and major choice are correct then it should be easy to pay off with higher earnings in 4 years time.
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the_wiki
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Re: College Student Health Insurance in non-home state

Post by the_wiki »

Check out the healthcare.gov exchanges. Would likely qualify for subsidies there.

https://www.healthcare.gov/young-adults ... -students/
marcopolo
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Re: College Student Health Insurance in non-home state

Post by marcopolo »

the_wiki wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 4:26 pm Check out the healthcare.gov exchanges. Would likely qualify for subsidies there.

https://www.healthcare.gov/young-adults ... -students/
If family is already on Medicaid as stated in the OP, the student is very unlikely to qualify for any tax credits.
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.
psteinx
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Re: College Student Health Insurance in non-home state

Post by psteinx »

Maybe the uni would also discount/pay for the ~required health care coverage as part of the overall scholarship?
Big Dog
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Re: College Student Health Insurance in non-home state

Post by Big Dog »

Massachusetts has a state law that all college students must have appropriate health insurance.

With all due respect to yoru friend, Congrats on the OOS admission, but unless its a full ride, taking out significant loans is not smart. No other local options? Rutgers? Community college and transfer?
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Dinosaur Dad
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Re: College Student Health Insurance in non-home state

Post by Dinosaur Dad »

the_wiki wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 4:26 pm Check out the healthcare.gov exchanges. Would likely qualify for subsidies there.

https://www.healthcare.gov/young-adults ... -students/
Not sure how that would work, since he's still technically a resident of NJ. I'm thinking, thought, that when he exits Medicaid next year, maybe we can find a plan under his father that has some level of out-of-network coverage.
"Take calculated risks - that is quite different from being rash." | General George S. Patton
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Dinosaur Dad
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Re: College Student Health Insurance in non-home state

Post by Dinosaur Dad »

the_wiki wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 4:26 pm Check out the healthcare.gov exchanges. Would likely qualify for subsidies there.

https://www.healthcare.gov/young-adults ... -students/
Not sure how that would work, since he's still technically a resident of NJ. I'm thinking, thought, that when he exits Medicaid next year, maybe we can find a plan under his father that has some level of out-of-network coverage.
"Take calculated risks - that is quite different from being rash." | General George S. Patton
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Dinosaur Dad
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Re: College Student Health Insurance in non-home state

Post by Dinosaur Dad »

psteinx wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 4:40 pm Maybe the uni would also discount/pay for the ~required health care coverage as part of the overall scholarship?
I'm certainly going to talk to them, explain that this certainly wasn't on our radar. Not sure if I'll get anywhere.
"Take calculated risks - that is quite different from being rash." | General George S. Patton
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Dinosaur Dad
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Re: College Student Health Insurance in non-home state

Post by Dinosaur Dad »

Big Dog wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 4:56 pm Massachusetts has a state law that all college students must have appropriate health insurance.

With all due respect to yoru friend, Congrats on the OOS admission, but unless its a full ride, taking out significant loans is not smart. No other local options? Rutgers? Community college and transfer?
Great point and yes we went down this road of options a long way...Rutgers would have been way less expensive. But he's a really smart kid, extensive Robotics leadership roles and 12 APs, definitely a STEM kid, looking at Engineering. I ran all the numbers, sought out family members who have stepped up with help on top of a scholarship that pays almost 100% of tuition. Ultimately I'm estimating about $60k in loans (translates to about $750/month in payments upon graduation); that $60k is a bit under his projected starting salary after getting a STEM degree. Yes it's a risk. But we'd love to give him a chance to go to his dream school. Have spent a lot of time explaining his loan obligations, seems he buys in (but you never know if they really understand).
"Take calculated risks - that is quite different from being rash." | General George S. Patton
Pdxnative
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Re: College Student Health Insurance in non-home state

Post by Pdxnative »

This is standard practice at most schools. Some schools that offer good need-based aid will also use health insurance costs in their calculations and/or cover all or part of those costs. You might inquire about that.

However, in the big scheme of things this isn’t a huge deal. If he ends up with an internship in a different state or on an international program the insurance will probably be useful.

Wouldn’t surprise me if internships yield 10-15k in the final few summers. Plus, if you’re looking at total cost of attendance, most students can spend a bit less than estimated for personal stuff, books, etc.

Don’t forget about the AOTC, which could help.

ETA: also, this is easy money if they’re eligible: https://www.hesaa.org/Pages/NJBESTMatchingProgram.aspx
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Dinosaur Dad
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Re: College Student Health Insurance in non-home state

Post by Dinosaur Dad »

Pdxnative wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 6:46 pm This is standard practice at most schools. Some schools that offer good need-based aid will also use health insurance costs in their calculations and/or cover all or part of those costs. You might inquire about that.

However, in the big scheme of things this isn’t a huge deal. If he ends up with an internship in a different state or on an international program the insurance will probably be useful.

Wouldn’t surprise me if internships yield 10-15k in the final few summers. Plus, if you’re looking at total cost of attendance, most students can spend a bit less than estimated for personal stuff, books, etc.

Don’t forget about the AOTC, which could help.

ETA: also, this is easy money if they’re eligible: https://www.hesaa.org/Pages/NJBESTMatchingProgram.aspx
Thanks for your comments and especially for your tips on AOTC and the hesaa match....
"Take calculated risks - that is quite different from being rash." | General George S. Patton
LotsaGray
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Re: College Student Health Insurance in non-home state

Post by LotsaGray »

Are you sure the current policy will not meet the criteria?

Yes, he will only get emergent care in MA. But he could still plan all routine care (which for most health 19yo is nil) for visits in NJ.

He has full coverage but is MA college insisting he have a PCP in MA? If no, his current PCP is in NJ and will take his coverage.

Side notes....
$2000 is not much and if that is such a burden, he should strongly reconsider the choice of school.

If this is a truly ELITE school (with the corresponding elite costs), if family is on medicaid I would expect a full ride as the min (full ride plus living is better). I would consider before moving there. And if not truly an elite school, I would simply not consider it even with a full ride.

Comes down to in my mind, does the school really want him and thus will find the needed $ or does he want the school? The second probably doesn't make sense.
LotsaGray
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Re: College Student Health Insurance in non-home state

Post by LotsaGray »

Dinosaur Dad wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 5:45 pm
Big Dog wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 4:56 pm Massachusetts has a state law that all college students must have appropriate health insurance.

With all due respect to yoru friend, Congrats on the OOS admission, but unless its a full ride, taking out significant loans is not smart. No other local options? Rutgers? Community college and transfer?
Great point and yes we went down this road of options a long way...Rutgers would have been way less expensive. But he's a really smart kid, extensive Robotics leadership roles and 12 APs, definitely a STEM kid, looking at Engineering. I ran all the numbers, sought out family members who have stepped up with help on top of a scholarship that pays almost 100% of tuition. Ultimately I'm estimating about $60k in loans (translates to about $750/month in payments upon graduation); that $60k is a bit under his projected starting salary after getting a STEM degree. Yes it's a risk. But we'd love to give him a chance to go to his dream school. Have spent a lot of time explaining his loan obligations, seems he buys in (but you never know if they really understand).
$60K starting for a STEM degree seems low. But if accurate, he should not even consider going OOS.

Sounds to me like he is a good student that wants to attend this school and the school is willing to provide "normal" aid based on family situation. But if he was a student that the school wanted there, iow, a highly sought student, they would find all the funding he needs for tuition, books, living, etc.

Long, long ago I considered some dream schools, including one in MA (starts with M and ends with T) and couple in state private of similar level. All three "wanted" me but were not chasing me. This was before aid was nearly as common as it is now AND I would not have been able to even get loans after 1st year. (That should give you a big hint when this was.) The $ offered plus the $ I had (family could not help) would not have covered. So I would have had to transfer 2nd year anyway.

But I wound up at a good in state, state flagship engineering school. I graduated nearly debt free (1 yr of small student loan). Dream schools are nice but not all dreams come true. In my case if I gambled I could make it happen and tried to go to my dream school, it likely fails and who knows how that set back impacts me. Instead, I graduated from a very good state engineering school (actually my year of graduation in my particular degree, we wound up rated above that MA M school) and my starting salary was well over half the $60K you are estimating. CPI has basically tripled since then. (This seems inline with what I believe similar kids are starting at today.)

I would really expect a STEM graduate from a top tier school to start well over your estimate. I guess there are some STEM degrees at that level but not many.
zeeke42
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Re: College Student Health Insurance in non-home state

Post by zeeke42 »

Dinosaur Dad wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 5:45 pm Ultimately I'm estimating about $60k in loans (translates to about $750/month in payments upon graduation); that $60k is a bit under his projected starting salary after getting a STEM degree. Yes it's a risk. But we'd love to give him a chance to go to his dream school.
$60k in loans to get an engineering degree from a "dream school" isn't that bad; it's a far cry from $200k in loans for an English degree. If the school is MIT or Harvard, it's a no brainer. If it's Northeastern or WPI I'd still definitely go for it. Also, starting salaries vary by degree. If it's computer science or Electrical Engineering, that's very low. I started at $60k with a CS/EE degree *20 years ago*. New grads start around $100k these days.
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Dinosaur Dad
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Re: College Student Health Insurance in non-home state

Post by Dinosaur Dad »

LotsaGray wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 8:55 pm Are you sure the current policy will not meet the criteria?

Yes, he will only get emergent care in MA. But he could still plan all routine care (which for most health 19yo is nil) for visits in NJ.

He has full coverage but is MA college insisting he have a PCP in MA? If no, his current PCP is in NJ and will take his coverage.

Side notes....
$2000 is not much and if that is such a burden, he should strongly reconsider the choice of school.

If this is a truly ELITE school (with the corresponding elite costs), if family is on medicaid I would expect a full ride as the min (full ride plus living is better). I would consider before moving there. And if not truly an elite school, I would simply not consider it even with a full ride.

Comes down to in my mind, does the school really want him and thus will find the needed $ or does he want the school? The second probably doesn't make sense.
Thanks for your comments. Yes they are saying that his insurance has to be fully effective in Massachusetts.

The amount of aid question is tricky. I helped my friend appeal the intitial offer and they came up another $10k. They're offering campus job, etc. I'm not sure exactly how these schools come to their offers (outside of those few/wealthy ones who guarantee that they'll fund "demonstrated need").Do they assume a certain loan level is "acceptable"? And just how much is that? I've studied the various guidelines about how much a student should borrow, but any way you slice it, a significant loan is a burden. It does seem that many (most) kids today, or their parents, are taking out loans, at ungodly rates.
"Take calculated risks - that is quite different from being rash." | General George S. Patton
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Dinosaur Dad
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Re: College Student Health Insurance in non-home state

Post by Dinosaur Dad »

LotsaGray wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 9:17 pm
Dinosaur Dad wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 5:45 pm
Big Dog wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 4:56 pm Massachusetts has a state law that all college students must have appropriate health insurance.

With all due respect to yoru friend, Congrats on the OOS admission, but unless its a full ride, taking out significant loans is not smart. No other local options? Rutgers? Community college and transfer?
Great point and yes we went down this road of options a long way...Rutgers would have been way less expensive. But he's a really smart kid, extensive Robotics leadership roles and 12 APs, definitely a STEM kid, looking at Engineering. I ran all the numbers, sought out family members who have stepped up with help on top of a scholarship that pays almost 100% of tuition. Ultimately I'm estimating about $60k in loans (translates to about $750/month in payments upon graduation); that $60k is a bit under his projected starting salary after getting a STEM degree. Yes it's a risk. But we'd love to give him a chance to go to his dream school. Have spent a lot of time explaining his loan obligations, seems he buys in (but you never know if they really understand).
$60K starting for a STEM degree seems low. But if accurate, he should not even consider going OOS.

Sounds to me like he is a good student that wants to attend this school and the school is willing to provide "normal" aid based on family situation. But if he was a student that the school wanted there, iow, a highly sought student, they would find all the funding he needs for tuition, books, living, etc.

Long, long ago I considered some dream schools, including one in MA (starts with M and ends with T) and couple in state private of similar level. All three "wanted" me but were not chasing me. This was before aid was nearly as common as it is now AND I would not have been able to even get loans after 1st year. (That should give you a big hint when this was.) The $ offered plus the $ I had (family could not help) would not have covered. So I would have had to transfer 2nd year anyway.

But I wound up at a good in state, state flagship engineering school. I graduated nearly debt free (1 yr of small student loan). Dream schools are nice but not all dreams come true. In my case if I gambled I could make it happen and tried to go to my dream school, it likely fails and who knows how that set back impacts me. Instead, I graduated from a very good state engineering school (actually my year of graduation in my particular degree, we wound up rated above that MA M school) and my starting salary was well over half the $60K you are estimating. CPI has basically tripled since then. (This seems inline with what I believe similar kids are starting at today.)

I would really expect a STEM graduate from a top tier school to start well over your estimate. I guess there are some STEM degrees at that level but not many.
Thanks for your comment. That's sort of what we're all hoping: that he loves it, stays highly motivated, graduates with a very marketable degree in an area with a lot of opportunity. He's excited.

That said, my experience was: couldn't afford anything but "safety" school, commuted for a time/worked like crazy, graduated without debt, and things worked out. There are many paths that can work.
"Take calculated risks - that is quite different from being rash." | General George S. Patton
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Dinosaur Dad
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Re: College Student Health Insurance in non-home state

Post by Dinosaur Dad »

zeeke42 wrote: Wed Jul 10, 2024 9:43 am
Dinosaur Dad wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 5:45 pm Ultimately I'm estimating about $60k in loans (translates to about $750/month in payments upon graduation); that $60k is a bit under his projected starting salary after getting a STEM degree. Yes it's a risk. But we'd love to give him a chance to go to his dream school.
$60k in loans to get an engineering degree from a "dream school" isn't that bad; it's a far cry from $200k in loans for an English degree. If the school is MIT or Harvard, it's a no brainer. If it's Northeastern or WPI I'd still definitely go for it. Also, starting salaries vary by degree. If it's computer science or Electrical Engineering, that's very low. I started at $60k with a CS/EE degree *20 years ago*. New grads start around $100k these days.
thanks for your comment. Definitely aligns with my thinking...there's significant upside. His big thing is Robotics, with is a specialty at his chosen school (WPI).
"Take calculated risks - that is quite different from being rash." | General George S. Patton
zeeke42
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Re: College Student Health Insurance in non-home state

Post by zeeke42 »

Dinosaur Dad wrote: Wed Jul 10, 2024 8:00 pm thanks for your comment. Definitely aligns with my thinking...there's significant upside. His big thing is Robotics, with is a specialty at his chosen school (WPI).
I went to WPI (BS 2004 / MS 2005) and had a fantastic experience. The robotics major was in the experimental stages when I was there. I strongly recommend he look at the combined BS/MS program. It's nominally a 5 year program, but with his APs, if he really works hard he could finish it in less. With just AP Physics C, Calc BC, and Computer science, I was able to finish a BS in CS with an ECE minor and an MS in CS in 4.5 years total.

Not only is the MS a differentiator when applying for jobs, many companies count it as 2 years of experience for salary scales and stuff like that, so it actually has negative opportunity cost long term.

I can't speak to robotics jobs specifically, but I work on software that's closer to hardware/electronics than most and we've hired at least one RBE grad as a software engineer in Boston at ~$100k.
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