Do we have to buy a college’s health insurance?


Q. My son is starting college. The school is insisting we buy the school’s health insurance even though our insurance is great and it will cover him fully because we’re in the same state. How can the school say he has to buy the insurance anyway? Can we get out of paying this extra $1,100?
— Mom

A. We totally get that you want to lower college costs as much as possible, but it seems you’re stuck paying this bill.

The school can require you to purchase their health insurance coverage if yours does not meet their specifications, said Jerry Korey, a certified financial planner with RegentAtlantic in Morristown.

“Even though your coverage may be great, some schools require your policy to be identical to theirs,” he said. “If that’s not the case, they can require you purchase their coverage.”

Plus, he said, some schools build their health insurance costs into tuition. Seems your student’s school isn’t one of them.

If the student does not need coverage, they would need to provide proof that their existing coverage meets the school’s requirements and apply for a waiver, Korey said.

“There can be an early deadline to obtain the waiver however, so be sure to put this at the top of the to-do list,”he said. “If it’s past the deadline, there may be nothing you can do this year.”

He recommends you confirm the specific requirements of the school to make sure what you are being told is correct.

Check the school’s website and call – several times. You want to make sure the representative you talk to is correct about the facts.

Email your questions to .

This story was originally published on Aug. 23, 2019. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.