Healthcare possibilities aid students in futures

Jessica Voorhees

College students who aren’t on their parents’ healthcare plan have another option for insurance based on their economic status and earnings. 

Students can learn about healthcare options and buy their plan through Kynect, a health insurance marketplace for Kentucky, which has been promoted on WKU’s regional campuses

Charity Parrish, Kynect program manager, said all the healthcare options depend on a student’s income and size of household. 

She said there are two main options. If a student is below 13.8 percent of the federal poverty level they are eligible for Medicaid, and if they are above the poverty level they must have a health insurance plan with a premium, or the amount that must be paid for health insurance or plan. 

She said if a student experiences extreme poverty levels, they can be eligible for payment assistance and discounts with the Silver plan.

According to, the Silver plan is one of the five health plan categories, which are divided based on the percentage the plan pays of the total cost of a person’s care throughout the year. 

The average percentages the plans will spend are 60 percent for Bronze, 70 percent for Silver, 80 percent for Gold, 90 percent for Platinum and less than 60 percent for Catastrophic, which is available only to people less than 30 years of age or who have a hardship exemption. 

Platinum and Gold plans have high monthly premiums, while the Silver plan allows for lower out-of-pocket costs based on household size and income. 

Parrish said the premiums are pretty reasonable for most students.

According to, individuals in Kentucky with an expressed household income of less than $1,293 are eligible for Medicaid. 

Medicaid benefits include the 10 essential heath benefits in the Affordable Care Act, for example, prescription drugs and trips to the emergency room, but individuals pay just what they can afford based on their income level. 

Parrish said Medicaid is often a viable option for college students because many attend school full-time and don’t have outside jobs. 

“They expanded Medicaid because a lot of students don’t have income,” she said. 

Students can talk to an agent at Kynect to find out if they are eligible for Medical or special discounts and register for a healthcare plan.