College students seeking orthodontic coverage have several insurance plan options. Many group health insurance plans -- plans sponsored by an employer, association or trust -- allow parents to cover their college student dependents until age 23 or higher. Additionally, colleges and universities often offer insurance plans for their enrolled students that may include dental benefits. Individual dental plans are another option and may allow more flexibility in plan and benefit options.
Student Dental Plans
Many colleges and universities offer student health plans to their students. In addition to health insurance, you should contact your school’s health center to inquire about dental coverage. Often, schools will offer a dental plan to all enrolled undergraduate and graduate students meeting certain credit-level requirements. These dental plans often include orthodontics and offer the opportunity to enroll once a year, during an open enrollment period. Some student medical plans may also provide discounts for dental services but may exclude orthodontics.
If you are uninsured or self-employed or your group dental plan excludes orthodontic coverage, you should consider purchasing an individual dental plan for your family. Individual dental plans may include orthodontics as a covered benefit to a base plan or as a rider to the base dental plan. Individual plans may allow coverage for college students, usually up to age 23 or longer. To find individual dental plans, visit several dental insurance companies’ websites to get more information about the plans, rates and application process.
Many group dental insurance plans offer dependent coverage. Most plans allow coverage until age 19 or older, depending on student status. If your dependent is a full-time student, you plan may allow you to keep his coverage active until age 23 or 26, depending on how your group has set up its benefits for dental plans. Always check your summary plan description to confirm the age limitations on dependent coverage. You will likely need proof a dependent's student status for your employer or insurer.
Most dental plans will allow parents to cover their dependents, despite the location of the dependents. However, some group plans have restrictions upon utilizing providers in other states. Depending on how the group plan is set up and the type of dental plan, cross-state coverage may be disallowed. So a college student who lives in California but goes to college in Arizona may not be able to visit an orthodontist in Arizona.
Francine Richards is a licensed multi-state insurance agent with years of human resources and insurance industry experience. Her work has appeared on Blue Cross Blue Shield websites and newsletters, the Houston Chronicle and The Nest. Richards holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of Maryland.