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Many things in life make us feel old. Grey hair, the revitalization of a “classic” video game console from your childhood, uncovering a box of floppy disks. As the years go by that list keeps getting longer and longer. For some, nothing makes you feel older than moving your first-born child into a college dorm.
As you’re packing up your precious cargo for this adventure away from home you’ve probably got the normal list of must-haves suggested by the dorm, maybe even a few items of fun. While you’re preparing them for this new independent step in their life don’t forget to leave them prepared for illness and emergencies away from home.
You might be wondering what it is they’ll need to make this transition from having mom make all of their doctor’s appointments and filling out all of their paperwork to doing it all themselves. We’ve pulled together a list to help ensure that your new college student has the health care package they need.
Proof of insuranceMany colleges require proof of insurance for a student to opt out of the provided student plan. If you’ve decided your student will stay on your health insurance plan call the number on the back of your ID card to get proof of insurance sent to your home. This will include coverage dates.
ID CardMake sure your student has a copy of your insurance card. Remember that if you are on a family PPO plan the card will be issued in the policyholder’s name, but can be used by all covered members of the plan. You may have to order a card before the planned move-in date.
ImmunizationsYou want your student to put their best foot forward so make sure all immunizations are up-to-date. Your doctor should be able to answer any questions about regularly scheduled immunization or you can review the list provided by the CDC. The college may even require additional immunizations like meningitis.
Provider FinderIt won’t matter if your student is fifty miles away or states away – they may need to find an in-network provider in their area that they can see. Be sure to review how they can find a local provider in our Provider Finder online tool. If your family plan is an HMO plan be sure to call customer service to discuss your child’s options for care while away from home.
Blue Access for MembersWhen your student turns 18 they are eligible to create their own account on Blue Access for MembersSM (BAM). This will help them with finding a doctor, monitoring their claims and learning more about their coverage.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois AppAfter your student has their BAM account set up have them download the BCBSIL app. They can log into their account in the app and have the Provider Finder, claims summary and benefits at their fingertips. They can even access an electronic version of the ID card in the event they misplace the one you’ve provided them. Have them text BCBSILAPP to 33633 to download the app1.
Standard Authorization FormsYou may still need to help your child with their claims and other insurance matters while they are away at school. Make sure your student completes a Standard Authorization Form before they leave for school – this document gives you the right to discuss any insurance related matters with the insurance company.
Virtual VisitsCollege schedules can be tricky and might not leave a lot of time to visit the campus clinic or a doctor’s office. There might be time to squeeze in a virtual visit, if it’s provided by your family plan. This option is great for non-emergency conditions like the flu or allergies. Meet with an independently contracted, board-certified doctor 24 hours a day, seven days a week, via mobile app, online video or phone2-3.
EmergenciesIf your student has an accident or medical emergency they should seek care at the nearest emergency facility. It’s true that an emergency room visit costs much more than a trip to their primary care physician, but if they are unsure about where they should be seen they can call their primary care physician for advice about where to go. If they don’t feel it is a truly life-threatening situation but is still urgent enough that they need medical attention quickly, an urgent care facility might be a good option if a primary care physician is unreachable. You’ll want to verify this option by calling the number on the back of your ID card.
Student Health PlansDeciding to keep your student on your family health plan or enrolling them in the available student health plan is a big decision. Which will provide the best options for your child? It’s important to compare the benefits and options of the student health plan information. The information can be found on the college website. You’ll find a helpful video and a list of colleges that provide our AcademicBlueSM student plan option on our website.
If we’re going to feel our age as we’re preparing for our baby birds to leave the nest, we might as well feel comfort in knowing they are prepared for this new independence in their life by having a health care package at their fingertips. What other items would you include in your student’s care package?
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