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••• The International Writers Magazine - 23 Years on-line - Lifestyles

Accessing Healthcare as a College Student
• Indiana Lee
Find an affordable healthcare plan now


For many young people, college is their first experience in the real world. Many have likely never lived alone, been responsible for their own schedule, or had to worry about healthcare. It can be daunting for college students to realize that they need medical assistance and not know where to turn. Luckily, healthcare has improved by leaps and bounds over the years, so there are many places to turn for help.

From affordable insurance plans to local community resources, there are things that young people can do and places they can go to make sure that they can be protected against potential injury and get the medical help that they need today. Let’s look at what is available and how to take advantage.

Insurance Choices

The most important thing that a college student can do is to acquire current insurance so they have a safety blanket should they become ill or injured. The good news is that there are several options to consider. The easiest is to stay on their parent’s health insurance plan, which they can do until the age of 26 years old. This arrangement is ideal if the student lives near home so they continue to see the same doctor and healthcare providers that they have been going to for years.

If students over the age of 26 want to get insured, they will likely need to obtain their own policy. The good news is that many colleges offer a healthcare program through the university that is funded directly by the school or an insurance company. Be aware that this insurance is not free. The cost of this service will be billed to the student just like their room and board. However, students can use loans and financial aid to help with the repayment. Also, keep in mind that the student may need to be enrolled for a predetermined number of classes to qualify.

Just like their parents, college students can also get insurance through the online marketplace at, where they can pick a plan and deductible that works for their budget and lifestyle. Low-income students may also qualify for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, which gives them protection for free. Keep in mind that certain eligibility requirements must be met to qualify.

Use Local Resources

It is also important for students to utilize the resources in their community should they want to visit a doctor for a checkup or talk to someone if they are feeling stressed. For starters, if you are badly injured and need immediate care, make sure to visit the emergency room where they can provide quick assistance and get you back on your feet. Insurance will make the visit much more affordable, but remember that even if you are uninsured, they will not turn you away.

Keep in mind that a visit to the ER is really only for life-threatening injuries and emergencies. If your life is not at immediate risk, then you can choose to instead go to an urgent care facility. Suitable for a variety of conditions, urgent care clinics have evolved vastly over the years, and they now include many resources, such as X-ray machines, hematology equipment for blood testing, IVs for administering medications, and many other helpful devices. Urgent care is often a less expensive option, and if you make an appointment ahead of time, you can get in and out quickly.

College can be a very daunting time for many students as they juggle their classes and study sessions while also managing their money and social lives. If you are feeling anxious or depressed, then you need to talk to someone, and luckily, there are many mental health resources available on or near college campuses. For instance, many universities have a psychiatrist on staff or you can go to your school counselor. You can also call helpful phone hotlines, including the Crisis Text Line and the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. If you think you need help, don’t delay and seek it out today.

Preventive Health Is Key

Even with insurance, it is important to avoid visits to the emergency room whenever possible because not only can it be costly, but if students are held up in a bed for too long, it can harm their school responsibilities.

One way they can avoid the ER is to go to the doctor right away if they experience pain or discomfort instead of waiting until the condition worsens. Not only will doing so avoid major issues, but an untreated condition can negatively impact other parts of your body. For instance, many common medical issues, including diabetes and high blood pressure, can affect your eye health if they are left untreated.

To avoid health issues, students must practice proactive health, and that starts with getting enough sleep. By resting for seven to nine hours a night, students can fight those feelings of anxiety and give their immune system a chance to recharge. To get the best sleep possible, make it a habit to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Also, avoid looking at screens before bed as the blue light can affect our circadian rhythm.

Smart eating is another important part of a preventive health strategy. It can be tempting to eat bad food like pizza and popcorn during those late-night study sessions, but by mixing in healthy snacks like nuts and veggies, students can keep their bodies in peak condition, which will reduce their chances of contracting illnesses. Alcohol consumption should also be kept to a minimum to avoid dehydration and headaches.

As you can see, college students have greater access to healthcare than they may initially realize. By utilizing these resources and practicing preventive health, they can graduate in peak mental and physical condition.

 Indiana Lee © Indiana Lee 1.19.22

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