College students often rely on their parents’ resources during their time at a university, and that includes dental insurance coverage. Once they graduate and become more independent, they have a host of new responsibilities, including setting up their own health and dental plans. If you have always been under your parents’ coverage, you may have no idea where to begin.
Not all college students fit into this category, but many young adults live on Mom and Dad’s dollar through those 4+ years, charging those shiny credit cards for new clothing, expensive hangouts and popular restaurants. Eventually they may need to write a check for rent once a month, but this often comes from Dad’s wallet as well. They might even have to live within a budget, but if their finances take a nose-dive, Mom and Dad are still there to bail them out in desperate times. This is a great system while a student’s “job” or responsibility is to earn good grades and prepare for a future career, but graduation has a way of kicking a person out the starting gate.
Once senior year rolls around, these students are suddenly faced with a multitude of important decisions. What job can I get? Where should I live? What if I need to move to another state? What about my boyfriend? What kind of life expenses should I expect? Can I handle these car payments on my own? Students may begin to plan how they will accommodate these new responsibilities ahead of time, but amid all these questions, insurance rarely enters the picture until after a student graduates.
Then the real world hits. Now as independent adults, most ex-college students are forced to pay for everything on their own. These new adults must begin to earn money for their needs by themselves – if they do not earn it, they do not have it! Medical insurance is a primary concern, but sometimes dental plans are seen as an unnecessary luxury. Unfortunately, neglected dental care can result in expensive treatments down the road! Seeing a dentist regularly could prevent serious oral disease, so coverage for this vital preventive care is often a sound financial decision.
Insurance Coverage Research
Before college students even graduate, they should research the topic of insurance. Finding out what kind of dental plan their parents have is a good start, and from there, they can decide what kind of coverage they need in a plan and what affordable options are available to them. They can use the Internet to access prices for procedures in their area and compare dental plans with insurance to save the most money possible.
Parents are often a help and a voice of reason as their children begin this process. Sometimes professors or other adult mentors can help students in their search for dental insurance as well. If you are a student comparing dental insurance to a dental plan, the bottom line is: Get advice!
Lastly, students should not wait until they feel financially “stable” to enroll in a dental plan, because that may never happen to their satisfaction! As soon as students are out from under their parents’ wing (and insurance), dental coverage should be a priority if they want to maintain a healthy mouth through adulthood. Having access to a good dental plan can make seeing the dentist less of a chore and more of a benefit.