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PRESS RELEASE: February 1, 2011

Student health plan support needed as choices expand

Students returning to U.S. colleges last month found a record number of choices of student health insurance plans available through their schools and online with no increase in the prices since last semester. Most universities sell their own branded student health plan and commercial insurers offer a wide range of supplemental protection plans. In addition, more students under age 26 now have the option to remain on parents' coverage under provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. Freedom Benefits Association tracks and sorts through the available choices on a state-by-state basis to help each family make the best choice for the student.

Student health plans sponsored by universities drew increases criticism from lawmakers last year during the national health reform debate. These plans typically sold to students as part of the registration process under arrangements with Aetna or UnitedHealthcare. Students and their parents may not have a full understanding of the limitations of coverage until too late - after a claim is incurred. Meanwhile, an informal poll of Ivy League schools by Freedom Benefits in 2010 found that in-house student health insurance personnel were generally unable to assist students on their options outside of the university-sponsored health plan. Parents may not consider the limitations of their employer-sponsored health plan for students who seek treatment while away from home. The end result is that more college students accumulate unpaid medical bills that damages their consumer credit record even before they get their first full-time job.

Tony Novak, head of the OnlineAdviser service that provides personalized advice on student health plans, says that the choices have become overwhelming to many families. Unfortunately, there is no single solution and the available health plans vary in quality in aspects not apparent to consumers. Each type of student health plan has inherent risks and full coverage can no longer be achieved by a single health plan. Students face a significant risk of choosing the wrong insurance if they use price as the primary selection criteria. Novak receives an increase in calls and e-mails about health plans from college students across the county at the beginning of each semester. He expects even more next semester as a result of national health reform changes.

FreedomBenefits.net provides users with free access to OnlineAdviser service to support enrollment a wide range of student health plans in each state.

 
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This web site is independently owned and managed by Tony Novak operating under the trademarks "Freedom Benefits", "OnlineAdviser" and "OnlineNavigator". Opinions expressed are the sole responsibility of the author and do not represent the opinion of any other person, company or entity mentioned. Tony Novak is not an agent, broker, producer or navigator for any federal or state health insurance exchange but may provide uncompensated advice, reviews and referrals to these official resources. Novak is compensated as an accountant, adviser, affiliate consultant, marketer, reviewer, endorser, producer, lead generator or referrer to some of the commercial companies listed on this site. Information is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed.