What You Need to Know
Nevada doesn’t mandate health insurance, but your school might.
You can stay on your parent’s health plan until you turn 26, but make sure it covers healthcare providers near your school.
A few Nevada schools offer coverage to certain populations, such as international students or students with a graduate assistantship.
You’ll need a way to pay for medical treatment while you’re in school. That’s why you’ll need to include health insurance in your college planning. Nevada students have many coverage options, including:
- A parent’s policy.
- Student health insurance.
- Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans.
- Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
- Catastrophic coverage.
- Short-term plans.
We’ll explore these choices below.
Why Do Nevada Students Need Health Insurance?
Even if you don’t have ongoing health concerns, you might see a doctor for an unexpected sickness or injury. When you do, health insurance lessens what you pay out of pocket for covered medical expenses, such as preventive care, emergency services, surgeries, inpatient care, and ambulance service.
Visit your school’s website to learn more about its student health insurance rules and coverage.
What Should You Consider When Searching for Student Health Coverage in Nevada?
First, answer these questions:
- Do you have ongoing healthcare concerns?
- What prescription drugs do you take?
- What do you consider an affordable monthly premium?
- What can you contribute to cost-sharing amounts (deductible, coinsurance, copayment)?
Then, consider the following:
Will You Attend School In or Out of State?
You can probably keep your current coverage if you’re a Nevada resident attending school in-state. Before you decide, be sure your plan’s network includes healthcare providers and medical facilities on or near campus.
If you move to Nevada for school, you’ll probably be out of your existing plan’s network. Many health insurance policies charge you more for out-of-network care if it’s covered.
Can Someone Claim You as a Dependent?
The Affordable Care Act makes subsidies available to those within certain income guidelines. Your dependency status could affect your eligibility.
If a parent or someone else can claim you as a dependent on their tax return, the household income on that return determines your subsidy.1 If you’re not a dependent, the Health Insurance Marketplace uses your tax return.
Will You Stay on Your Parent’s Plan or Enroll in Your Own Plan?
If you maintain coverage through a parent, make sure the plan’s network includes doctors and hospitals near your school. Either way, you may want to look into your own coverage because a student insurance plan could be more affordable.
Short-term or catastrophic health insurance plans can be cost-effective choices, if you qualify.
Will You Be a Part-Time or Full-Time Student?
Your credit hours could determine your eligibility for student health insurance. Some Nevada schools extend coverage to both part-and full-time students, while others don’t.
What If You Get Covered Under Your Parent’s Plan in Nevada?
It can be convenient and affordable to stay on your parent’s health plan. Federal law allows this until you turn 26, even if you are:
- Not living with your parent(s).
- Attending school.
- Not financially dependent on your parent(s).
- Eligible to enroll in your employer’s plan.2
This usually makes the most sense if you’re enrolled in a school close to home. Factors to consider include 1) your plan’s network, 2) whether a more affordable option exists, and 3) school requirements.
What If You Get Covered Under Your School Plan in Nevada?
Some Nevada schools offer student health insurance. Student policies typically provide 1) comprehensive benefits, 2) low premiums rolled into your tuition, and 3) plan networks that include on-campus care if your school has a student health center.
This option can be a good fit if you 1) are uninsured, 2) want a less expensive policy than you currently have, or 3) need a network with local providers.
What If You Get Covered Under the Affordable Care Act in Nevada?
An ACA plan might be cost-effective if you qualify for premium 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 decide on an ACA plan if you:
- Have ongoing health concerns and/or take prescription medications.
- Buy your own insurance and have a lower income.
- Need a plan with a Nevada provider network.
- Don’t have access to student coverage through your school.
You can find Nevada ACA plans through private online marketplaces or Nevada Health Link, the state’s Health Insurance Marketplace. This coverage is available during the annual open enrollment period unless you have a qualifying life event that triggers a special enrollment period.
What If You Get Covered Through Medicaid or CHIP in Nevada?
If you’re already enrolled in Nevada Medicaid or Nevada Check Up, the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program, you can keep your coverage as long as you’re eligible. This might be your most affordable option, but make sure you have access to a medical facility that accepts these benefits.
What Are Other Coverage Options in Nevada?
Catastrophic and short-term health insurance plans can also work well for students. However, they’re not right for everyone due to eligibility requirements, coverage exclusions, and more limited benefits.
Catastrophic Health Plan
Designed for people under 30 and others with hardship and affordability exemptions,
catastrophic health insurance provides comprehensive coverage with a low monthly premium. However, these plans have high deductibles, making them a better fit for people who don’t have many healthcare needs.
If you qualify, catastrophic health insurance will appear among your options at Nevada Health Link. These plans are not subsidy-eligible.
Short-Term Health Insurance
Because benefits for short-term plans center around unexpected healthcare needs rather than preventive services or preexisting conditions, they tend to cost less than unsubsidized ACA plans.
This option can work well for college students who:
- Don’t have access to coverage through a parent.
- Can’t afford an unsubsidized ACA plan.
- Attend a school without a student health insurance program.
- Need coverage for only a few months, such as fall semester or spring semester.
You can get short-term coverage online or through an agent. Policies are not a “guaranteed issue,” which means you can be denied if you have any preexisting conditions.
What If You Skip Health Insurance in Nevada?
Nevada doesn’t have a state tax penalty for going without health insurance. However,
you’ll be expected to pay for medical services out of pocket if you don’t have coverage.
What Are State-Specific Rules for Nevada Students?
Nevada doesn’t impose statewide coverage requirements for students. Schools set their own rules.
What Are School Requirements in Nevada?
Check with your college or university about requirements for the current academic year. Below, you will find examples from two of Nevada’s largest schools:
College of Southern Nevada
The College of Southern Nevada requires international students to enroll in the CSN Student Health Insurance Plan unless they qualify for a waiver.4 Only international students are eligible for this coverage.5
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
The University of Nevada, Las Vegas offers a student health insurance plan for graduate students and professional students.6 It is not available to undergraduates.
UNLV requires international students to have health insurance and will automatically enroll them in its student plan unless they complete a waiver to provide proof of comparable coverage.7
What Are Resources for Nevada Students?
Your school’s website can be a good starting point for guidance on health insurance requirements, student health plans, and COVID-19 policies for masking and vaccinations.
The Nevada Division of Insurance provides general information about different types of coverage and how to shop for it.
Even if you think you know which health insurance coverage is right for you, compare a few options from different carriers to be sure. At this point, you might investigate supplemental health insurance to help with out-of-pocket costs not covered by your primary plan.
If you have questions while you shop, contact the carrier that offers the plan you’re considering.