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- Obamacare Enrollment - (How to Enroll)
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Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) Facts for Students

Obamacare and Students

Four ways students who need health insurance can get covered under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).




Updated: 2020-12-13 by

Under Obamacare, students who are U.S. citizens or legal residents have several options for getting covered under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

1. Stay on your parents health insurance. If you’re under the age of 26, your parents may be able to add you as dependent to a health insurance plan purchased through the marketplace at

2. Stay on your college or university’s health coverage. Because insurance plans offered by colleges and universities vary widely, you should talk to your school's health plan office to make sure its plan meets Obamacare rules. 

3. Get health insurance through an employer. If you work at a job that offers health benefits, that plan will qualify as minimum essential coverage under the Affordable Care Act. For more information on job-based insurance, see “What if I have job-based insurance?” at

4. Buy individual insurance. If you don’t get insurance through any of the options listed above, it may make sense to purchase an individual plan through, the marketplace set up to provide coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Most students qualify for extensive financial assistance for health insurance plans because their income is low.

Usually, you must buy insurance during an open enrollment period, but recent college graduates qualify for special enrollment, meaning they have a limited time to sign up outside the normal rules.

In a handful of states, you may be required to pay a tax penalty for going without health insurance. But even those states offer exemptions for those with very low incomes. To learn more, see Do I Have to Get Obamacare in Virginia?

Learn More

To learn more about what you may have to pay for an individual insurance plan, see How Much Does Obamacare Cost in Virginia?

For more information about applying for an individual health insurance plan, see How Do I Sign Up for Obamacare in Virginia?