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Jennifer, 20: Affordable health coverage for students

If your school offers a student health plan, it can be an easy and affordable way to get basic insurance coverage.

  • If you’re enrolled in a student health plan, in most cases it qualifies as minimum essential coverage.
  • This means you’re considered covered under the health care law, and won’t have to pay the penalty for not having insurance. Most student health plans qualify. Be sure to check with the plan to be sure.

Enrolling in a Marketplace plan instead

Even if you have access to a student health plan, you can apply for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace instead.

  • When you apply, you’ll find out if you qualify for an insurance plan with savings based on your income, or for free or low-cost care through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
  • One catch: If someone claims you as a tax dependent, you can buy an insurance plan through the Marketplace but won’t qualify for savings based on your income.
  • Learn more about the advantages of applying through the Marketplace and see your next steps.

TIP If you have a student health plan, when filling out a Marketplace application choose “No” when asked if you currently have health coverage. Choose “No” even if you have a student health plan and plan to drop it when you enroll in a Marketplace plan.

Get covered — or pay a fee

Students who don’t have health insurance may have to pay a fee. There’s no special student exception to the requirement to have health insurance.

  • Under the health care law, you must have a plan that qualifies as minimum essential coverage or pay a fee on your next federal tax return.
  • The penalty in 2016 is 2.5% of household income or $695 per adult (half of that per child), whichever is higher. Learn more about the fee for not being covered.