When I became a student a couple of years ago I was pleasantly surprised that I had a student benefit plan. The plan that my school offers is basic, but I still I am able to go for regular cleanings at the dentist (every 6 months) and get some medication at a lower cost than I would normally pay if I didn’t have the benefit plan.
Considering Canada has universal health care, as well, having benefits is icing on the cake and has saved me a few bucks since I started going to school.
Before I enrolled at school I wasn’t covered by benefits, because I had to come off of my parents plan just a year before. Unfortunately, I had hit the age where I was supposed to be independent (and was, for the most part) so their plan just didn’t extend to cover me as well.
Here are a few considerations when you are thinking about whether to keep your student health benefits or opt out of the benefits to save the cost:
Are You Covered By Another Plan?
Though this might surprise you, even if the answer to this question is yes, you may still want to keep your benefits through your school.
Often, younger students or students who are employed have benefits through their workplaces or under their parent’s, so the knee-jerk reaction may be to opt out of your school benefits, but consider what health or dental things you may want to take care of in the near future. If you have two benefits plans, one can cover the outstanding costs that you may incur because the other doesn’t quite stretch that far.
Can You Get Better Benefits for Less Money Elsewhere?
Yep, sometimes school benefits are more expensive and give you fewer options than if you were to get private health and dental benefits through a company like Pacific Blue Cross (if you are in Canada).
Do a cost comparison to look at what you want out of your benefits, and what you’ll use. Keep in mind that if you want basic benefits that will afford you the ability to have your teeth cleaned every six months and payment for medications if you fall sick, you probably won’t have to pay very much for them.
What Are Your Health Needs?
Benefits are great if you have some health needs that you’ll need coverage for. Physiotherapy or chiropractor services are examples of such benefits. However, many people don’t have the need for those things. Look at the cost of your health needs and what you would be using your health and dental benefits for, and then compare the cost of it if you were just planning on paying up front.
You may be surprised to find that you will spend less just paying up front than paying for benefits, through school or a private insurer.
Do your due diligence and ensure you know the costs of the options before you cut or keep your student health and dental benefits.