What You Need to Know
Delaware does not require students to have health insurance, but some colleges and universities do.
You can stay on a parent’s health plan until you turn 26, but make sure it covers healthcare providers where you attend school.
Some Delaware schools offer a student health insurance plan.
Delaware students have several health insurance options: 1) student coverage, 2) a parent’s policy, 3) Affordable Care Act plans and 4) short-term plans. We’ll explore the most common ones here.
Why Do Delaware Students Need Health Insurance?
Health insurance lessens your out-of-pocket costs for covered medical services, including preventive and emergency care.
What Should You Consider When Searching for Student Health Coverage in Delaware?
Start by answering these questions:
- Do you have ongoing medical concerns?
- What prescription drugs do you take?
- What do you consider an affordable monthly premium?
- What can you realistically contribute to cost-sharing amounts (deductible, coinsurance, copayment)?
Visit your school’s website to learn more about its student health insurance requirements and coverage.
Also, consider the following:
Will You Attend School In State or Out of State?
Delaware residents who stay in-state for school typically can keep their existing health insurance policy. Make sure the network includes nearby doctors and hospitals.
If you move to Delaware for school, you will probably be out of your current plan’s network. Not all policies cover out-of-network care, or they charge you more out of pocket for it.
Can Someone Claim You as a Dependent?
The ACA makes premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions available to those who fall within certain income guidelines. Your status as a dependent could impact your eligibility for these subsidies.
If a parent or someone else can claim you as a dependent on their tax return, the household income included on that return will determine your subsidy. 1 If you are not a dependent, your tax return is used.
Will You Stay on Your Parent’s Plan or Enroll in Your Own Plan?
If you stay on a parent’s health insurance plan, make sure it covers healthcare providers where you attend school. Either way, investigate enrolling in your own plan. You may find more affordable student coverage options.
Will You Be a Part-Time or Full-Time Student?
Student health insurance plans are subject to enrollment-related eligibility requirements. Some schools extend coverage to both part- and full-time students, while others do not.
What If You Get Covered Under Your Parent’s Plan in Delaware?
Health insurance coverage through a parent can be affordable and convenient. Federal law allows this until you turn 26, regardless of whether you’re 1) in college, 2) living at home, 3) eligible for your own job-based coverage, 4) financially dependent, or 5) married. 2
This option might make the most sense if you’re enrolled in a school close to home. Factors that can help you decide to include 1) your plan’s network, 2) whether you find a more affordable coverage option and 3) whether your coverage meets school requirements (if there are any).
What If You Get Covered Under Your School Plan in Delaware?
Some Delaware schools offer a student health insurance plan. Enrollment deadlines are usually at the start of each semester (e.g., September, February, July). Effective dates will vary by school.
University health plans typically provide 1) comprehensive benefits, 2) low premiums that are rolled into your tuition and 3) provider networks that include on-campus care if your school offers student health services.
This coverage can be a good fit if you’re 1) uninsured, 2) want coverage that is less expensive than what you currently have, or 3) need a plan with a Delaware provider network.
What If You Get Covered Through the Affordable Care Act in Delaware?
An ACA plan can be a cost-effective choice if you qualify for subsidies. This comprehensive coverage includes the 10 essential health benefits and is considered a “guaranteed issue,” which means you’ll qualify regardless of your health history, age, gender, and other factors.
You may opt for an ACA plan if you:
- Need to see a doctor on a regular basis and/or take prescription drugs.
- Buy your own health insurance and have a lower income.
- Need coverage with a Delaware provider network.
- Don’t have access to a student health insurance plan through your school.
You can enroll in a Delaware ACA plan through the federal Health Insurance Exchange.
Catastrophic and short-term health insurance are two additional choices that might work for you.
What If You Get Covered Through Medicaid or CHIP in Delaware?
If you are enrolled in Delaware Medicaid or the Delaware Healthy Children Program, the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), you can keep coverage for as long as you qualify. This may be your most affordable option, but make sure you have access to physicians who accept this coverage.
Medicaid and CHIP don’t typically transfer between states. If you are enrolled in one of these programs elsewhere, you need to apply for coverage in Delaware.
What Are Other Coverage Options in Delaware?
Catastrophic or short-term health insurance are two additional coverage options. They usually have lower premiums than unsubsidized ACA plans, which can make them attractive if you buy your own coverage.
Catastrophic Health Plan
Catastrophic health insurance provides comprehensive coverage to people under 30 and others with hardship and affordability exemptions. These plans have low monthly premiums and high deductibles. They usually make sense for people without many healthcare needs.
If you qualify, catastrophic plans appear among your options through the federal Health Insurance Exchange. They are not eligible for subsidies.
Short-Term Health Insurance
Short-term health insurance plans provide temporary coverage. Delaware policies cap at three months. 3 This coverage tends to cost less than unsubsidized ACA plans because benefits focus on unexpected healthcare needs instead of preventive services and treatment for pre-existing conditions.
Short-term plans work well for college students who 1) don’t have access to coverage through a parent, 2) can’t afford an unsubsidized ACA plan, 3) attend a school that doesn’t offer a student plan, or 4) need coverage for only a month or two.
You can quickly get short-term coverage online or through a health insurance agent. These policies are not guaranteed issues.
What If You Skip Health Insurance in Delaware?
While some states impose a penalty, Delaware does not. Penalties aside, you will be expected to pay for your medical expenses entirely out of pocket without health insurance.
What Are State-Specific Rules for Delaware Students?
Delaware colleges and universities make their own health insurance rules. Check the requirements of your institution.
What Are School Requirements in Delaware?
Policies vary by the school in Delaware. Here are examples from two of its largest universities:
University of Delaware
- Undergraduate students registered for 12 or more credit hours.
- Contracted graduate students.
- Non-contracted graduate students registered for 9+ credit hours.
- Registered international students on F1, J1 and J2 visas.
Students enrolled in the university health plan can purchase coverage for their eligible dependents by filling out a dependent enrollment form.
The plan is not available to part-time students, which include domestic and international undergraduates taking fewer than 12 credits and graduates taking fewer than 9 credits.
Wilmington University does not offer student health insurance plans or require coverage, regardless of enrollment status. 6 The school encourages international students to purchase health insurance. 7
What Are Resources for Delaware Students?
Your school’s website is a good starting point to learn more about its health insurance rules and, if offered, its student health plan. It should also provide information about institutional COVID-19 safety protocols and guidelines, such as mask and vaccination requirements.
The Delaware Department of Insurance website also provides an extensive list of informational resources for consumers.
Even if you think you know which health insurance is right for you, compare a few options. At this point, you might also look into supplemental health insurance to help with out-of-pocket costs not covered by your primary health plan.
If you have questions while you shop, contact the insurance company that offers the plan you’re considering.