Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Business

College students have many health plan choices

The Affordable Care Act is offering more health coverage choices to young adults, including college and graduate students, said Jen Mishory, deputy director of Young Invincibles, a group focused on economic issues affecting young Americans.

"There's going to be options out there to compare and contrast and figure out," she said.

For starters, if you're under 26 and your parents have health insurance that offers coverage for family members, the law allows you to stay on their plan in many cases. The government says that more than 3 million people have already gained coverage as a result of this provision. It applies even if you are financially independent and whether you are single or married. Costs are going up, though, as some plans now charge an additional premium for family members added to the plan.

College students have to consider other twists, too. Suppose your parents' plan requires that you use a local network of doctors, but you're attending school out of state. Martin Rosen, co-founder of Health Advocate Inc., said you should review your parents' plan before relying on it for coverage during college. If it is a health maintenance organization or preferred-provider plan and you seek care out of network, he said, "you're going to have less coverage, or you'll pay more money for it."

In that case, you may want to consider a health plan offered by your college. While student plans have until January to provide the full menu of "essential" health benefits mandated by the Affordable Care Act, many colleges are already offering plans that meet the requirements, said Jennifer Haubenreiser, immediate past president of the American College Health Association.

While benefits in student plans are expanding because of the law, premiums are increasing, too, said Stephen Beckley, a college insurance consultant in Fort Collins, Colo. The average annual premium for a student plan at a private four-year college is now about $2,200.

So for comparison, you may want to look at policies available on the new exchanges in October to see if you can find a cheaper plan.

Coverage purchased on the exchange would start in January. If you already have school coverage for the fall, the ability to switch plans in midyear depends on your school.

Many private four-year colleges automatically enroll students in their health plans, but allow students to opt out if they are covered under a comparable plan.

One possible advantage of school plans is that they typically are considered an education cost for financial aid purposes, so their cost often may be wrapped into a student's aid package.

Comments
Career Q&A: What to do when your boss is stealing

Career Q&A: What to do when your boss is stealing

Q: I strongly suspect that my boss is stealing from our employer. As the property manager for this apartment complex, she handles all payments, deposits and other financial matters.A few weeks ago, I accidentally discovered some suspicious discrepanc...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Pinellas is at the center of a rise in Florida flu outbreaks

Pinellas is at the center of a rise in Florida flu outbreaks

Feeling a little sniffly or scratchy or stuffed up? It may be the flu, and you don’t want to wait around to see a doctor this year. This is not the time to write off flu-like symptoms, Tampa Bay area health officials and doctors warn. The influenza v...
Published: 01/16/18
Italian Butterfingers? Nestle selling candy business for $2.9B

Italian Butterfingers? Nestle selling candy business for $2.9B

Associated PressNEW YORK — Swiss food and drink giant Nestle is selling its U.S. candy business to Italy’s Ferrero for about $2.9 billion in cash. Ferrero will take over iconic chocolate brands Butterfinger and Crunch bars, as well as the sugary Nerd...
Published: 01/16/18
23 seek vacant PSC post

23 seek vacant PSC post

There is another Mariano seeking a job in Tallahassee.Pasco County Commissioner Jack Mariano, the father of state Rep. Amber Mariano, R-Hudson, is seeking an appointment to the Florida Public Service Commission, the powerful board regulating Florida ...
Published: 01/16/18
St. Petersburg’s apartment boom is spreading west

St. Petersburg’s apartment boom is spreading west

ST. PETERSBURG — Still more apartments are coming to St. Petersburg, this time to the Edge and Grand Central Districts just west of downtown. The new projects, all by out-of-state developers and more moderately priced than those downtown, will...
Published: 01/16/18
Florida raises insurance regulation grade from C to B

Florida raises insurance regulation grade from C to B

When it comes to regulating insurance, Florida is slowly improving. The Sunshine State raised its grade from a C in 2016 to a B in 2017 on the "R Street 2017 Insurance Regulation Report Card." It ranked No. 15 among all states.The annual report, writ...
Published: 01/16/18

US travel industry launches plan to reverse tourism decline

Associated PressNEW YORK — Travel industry representatives sounded an alarm Tuesday over declines in international tourism to the U.S. and announced plans to reverse the trend. Organizers of the new Visit U.S. Coalition portrayed the decline as long-...
Published: 01/16/18
Raymond James advice for small to mid-sized companies about activist shareholders? Prepare and listen

Raymond James advice for small to mid-sized companies about activist shareholders? Prepare and listen

Shareholder fights between activist investors and publicly traded companies are getting nastier, especially in some industries, and a lot of them don’t involve corporate giants like General Motors and Procter & Gamble.In 2015, according to Raymond Ja...
Published: 01/16/18
Dow bursts through 26,000 in record seven trading days

Dow bursts through 26,000 in record seven trading days

The Dow Jones industrial average blew past 26,000 Tuesday for the first time ever, coming only a week after hitting 25,000 and showing further evidence that the long-running bull market is alive and well."There are several reasons for markets to melt...
Published: 01/16/18
Arizona-based AFI Mortgage opens St. Petersburg branch

Arizona-based AFI Mortgage opens St. Petersburg branch

Times StaffAFI Mortgage, a subsidiary of an Arizona-based bank, is opening its first Florida locations in St. Petersburg and Lakeland. Its parent company, AmeriFirst Financial Inc., specializes in mortgages. "This Florida team is innovative, knowledg...
Published: 01/16/18