Find Student Health Insurance in North Dakota

Search and Compare Plans Now

Enter Zip Code

Join the thousands of members we've covered

What Are Health Insurance Options for North Dakota Students

HealthCare Writer

Updated on July 1st, 2021

At, we want to make health insurance easy to understand so you can make better decisions. This post may have links to lead generation forms or direct you to our trusted insurance brokers, which is how we make money. However, this will not influence our writing.

As you choose a school and a major, there’s something you could be forgetting: health insurance. Make sure your college plans include how you’ll pay for healthcare. Fortunately, North Dakota students have many coverage options, which we’ll explore below. 

Why North Dakota Students Need Health Insurance

Even without ongoing medical concerns, you may experience an unexpected illness or injury. If you do, health insurance provides benefits that help cover the cost of your care. Without it, you’ll have to pay medical bills entirely out of pocket.

What You Need to Know

North Dakota schools set their own health insurance requirements and some, but not all, offer student plans; check with your school.

You can remain on your parent’s health insurance plan until you turn 26, but make sure it covers care where you attend school. 

International students who attend an institution within the North Dakota University System are required to carry a chancellor-approved health plan. 

What to Consider When Searching for Student Health Coverage

Your typical healthcare needs, along with what you can afford to pay toward coverage and the cost of care, will play a big role in your choice of health insurance. You’ll also want to consider: 

Health Plan 411

Most schools offer basic information about student plans and other coverage on their websites, located in the student services or student affairs section.

Will You Attend School In Or Out Of State?

If you’re an out-of-state student attending school in North Dakota, you might be outside your existing plan’s provider network. Depending on your policy, out-of-network care may not be covered or will cost more.

If you’re an in-state student, you’ll still need to check how your network covers care where your school is located. Otherwise, you may need to travel home to see an in-network doctor.

Can Someone Claim You As A Dependent? 

Subsidies help lower the cost of health insurance purchased from the federal Health Insurance Marketplace. These premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions can make individual plans more affordable to buy and use. However, your status as a dependent will impact your eligibility. 

If you’re claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return, all income included on that return will determine your subsidy. If nobody claims you, your tax return alone will be used. 

Will You Stay On Your Parent’s Plan Or Enroll On Your Own? 

If you continue coverage through your mom or dad, everything stays the same — your premium, your deductible, your network. This may or may not work in your favor as you head off to school. If you choose to enroll in your own coverage, there are a number of options and some may work better where you live as a student. 

What If You Get Covered Under Your Parent’s Health Insurance?

You can stay on your parent’s health insurance until you turn 26 under federal law. This is true whether or not you’re attending school, living with your parents, eligible for coverage through an employer, financially dependent on your parents, or married.1

Keeping your parent’s coverage can make sense if it’s already affordable and includes care you receive at school. Dependent coverage isn’t always the right choice, however, and the provider network will probably be a driving factor in your decision.

No Insurance?

If you don’t have any health insurance, you will have to pay out of pocket for any care that you receive.

What If You Get Covered Through Your School’s Plan in North Dakota? 

Your college or university may offer a student health insurance plan. These plans are designed with student budgets and health in mind, and they can be a good fit if you’re uninsured, want coverage that’s less expensive than what you have now, or need health insurance with a North Dakota provider network. 

If you’re considering an academic health plan, pay attention to what it covers, when and where you can use it, and eligibility criteria such as enrollment in a certain number of credit hours. 

What If You Get Covered Through the Affordable Care Act? 

Individual health insurance plans can have lots of advantages thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). They qualify for subsidies, include all of the 10 essential health benefits, and are guaranteed-issue, which means you qualify for coverage regardless of your health history. 

As such, buying an ACA plan in North Dakota could work well if you regularly see a doctor or take medications, buy your own coverage and have a lower income, or need a North Dakota provider network. 

Timing could be an issue with ACA plans. The annual Open Enrollment Period when you can buy coverage through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace begins November 1. You may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period if you experience a qualifying life event such as moving to and from school or turning 26.

What If You Get Covered Through Medicaid or CHIP in North Dakota? 

Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provide low-cost or no-cost coverage to low-income individuals and families. North Dakota Medicaid is available to adults ages 19 to 64 with household incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level.2 CHIP is available to North Dakota residents ages 18 and younger who live in families with qualifying incomes.3 

If you’re a North Dakota resident already covered by these programs, you may be able to continue using them while at school. That said, if you plan to use coverage on campus, you’ll need to see if the student health center accepts these benefits and files claims on your behalf.

You can visit North Dakota Human Services to learn more about coverage programs and apply online. 

What Are Other Coverage Options for North Dakota Students? 

If other forms of health insurance aren’t within your reach, here are two more options to consider:

Catastrophic Health Insurance 

Available through the federal Health Insurance Exchange, catastrophic health plans provide low-cost, worst-case-scenario coverage to individuals under the age of 30 and others with hardship and affordability exemptions. 

While premiums are low, deductibles tend to be much higher than for ACA plans. Before you meet your deductible, however, you will have access to certain no-cost preventive services and at least three primary care visits per year. 

Short-Term Health Insurance 

In North Dakota, short-term health plans provide temporary coverage for 30 to 185 days.4 This coverage tends to cost less than unsubsidized ACA plans. As such, it is designed to cover unforeseen medical care, as opposed to ongoing care for existing medical conditions. 

Short-term plans are not subject to the ACA, which means they don’t include all of the essential health benefits and you can be denied coverage based on your health history.

What Happens If You Skip Health Insurance in North Dakota? 

There’s no longer a federal tax penalty for going without health insurance, and North Dakota doesn’t have a state mandate in place. Penalties aside, you can expect to pay 100% out of pocket for healthcare if you don’t have coverage.  

Does North Dakota Have State-Specific Rules for Students? 

The North Dakota State Board of Higher Education policy section 505 requires all international students enrolled at a school within the North Dakota University System  (NDUS) to carry the health insurance policy approved by the chancellor.5 This includes students with F1 and J1 visa status, who will be automatically enrolled each semester.

Public and private schools outside the NDUS system are not subject to this policy but may have their own rules in place for international students. 

What Are School Requirements in North Dakota? 

Other than the section above, North Dakota schools within and outside of the NDUS6 set their own rules when it comes to student health insurance. Here’s a brief overview of policies at the state’s two largest schools:

North Dakota State University (NDSU)

There’s no insurance requirement for domestic students attending NDSU, which is part of the NDUS. Students who use the Student Health Service (SHS) and don’t ask SHS to file a claim with an insurance company on their behalf will be responsible for 100% of their charges, which will be billed to their student account. 

University of North Dakota (UND)

UND7, which is also part of the NDUS, doesn’t mandate that domestic students have health insurance, and students can receive care from Student Health Services with or without it. All students must pay for care not covered under an insurance plan. 

Resources for North Dakota Students

Navigating the health insurance landscape can feel overwhelming at times. Here are some North Dakota resources to help guide you: 

Get Covered North Dakota: On this site, find information on shopping for and selecting coverage, search for community health centers and certified application counselors, and get redirected to the federal Health Insurance Exchange to browse plans and enroll. 

North Dakota Health Care Coverage Options: This guide from the North Dakota state government provides an overview of several forms of healthcare coverage available in North Dakota. Though not exhaustive, it is fairly comprehensive and includes links and phone numbers.

North Dakota college and university websites: Most schools offer basic information about student plans and other coverage on their websites. It’s usually located in the student services or student affairs section. 

Next Steps

Maybe you know exactly where to go from here, but it’s always a good idea to gather a few quotes and compare options. Look at benefits (what’s included and excluded), the cost of coverage (premiums) as well as the cost of using it (e.g., plan deductible, copay and coinsurance amounts) and provider networks. Be sure to contact insurance companies directly with questions about their plans. 

If you need help getting started, consult the resources listed above or contact a health insurance agent licensed in the state of North Dakota. 

Share this article

  1. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. “About the ACA: Young Adult Coverage.” (accessed February 2021).

  2. North Dakota State Government. “Medicaid Expansion.” (accessed February 2021).

  3. North Dakota State Government. “Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).” (accessed February 2021).

  4. 2013 North Dakota Century Code Title 26.1 Insurance Chapter 26.1-36.4 Hospital and Medical Insurance. (accessed February 2021).

  5. North Dakota University System. “Health Insurance.” (accessed February 2021).

  6. North Dakota University System. “Health Insurance.” (accessed February 2021).

  7. University of North Dakota. “Insurance & Billing.” (accessed February 2021).