Ensuring Your Child is Covered Under Your Benefits While in School

Karen Taylor Smith is the Senior Manager, Group Benefits at The Benefits Trust. She has worked with The Benefits Trust since 1997, using her deep knowledge of employee benefit plans to customize the right solutions for businesses. Karen speaks, blogs, and contributes regularly to various media outlets on group benefits and compensation topics.

Ensuring Your Child is Covered Under Your Benefits While in School

Health Benefits for StudentsIf you have a child attending university or college full time, they can still be covered by your benefits plan as an “over-age dependent”.

An over-age dependent is typically considered to be a child between the ages of 21-26 who still attends school full time at an accredited educational institution. While this is the general definition, the specific details can vary; therefore, it is important to consult your plan booklet or ask your employer about the terms of your benefits plan.  For example, some plans may set an age limit at 25 instead of 26.

Important Things to Know

1. An over-age dependent’s coverage is managed on a school year basis – from September 1st to August 31st.

2. On this annual basis, parents must provide confirmation that the student continues to attend school full time.

3. In order to confirm your child is still in school, registration information, proof of tuition payment, or a self-report may be needed, depending on what your benefits provider requires.

4. If your child turns 21 in the middle of a school year, they may no longer have access to your benefits if they have not been registered as an over-age dependent in advance. This can be easily remedied by submitting the appropriate forms.

Dependent Children Attending School Out of Province May Need Special Considerations

Dependent children attending full time school outside of Canada are generally only eligible for emergency medical coverage, limited in duration according to your specific benefits plan.  Paramedical services, annual physicals, or dental appointments will only be covered in their normal province of residence. So when your son or daughter comes home to visit you, make sure to book all of their dental work and check-ups!

Students attending school in other provinces may be eligible for continued coverage under your benefits plan. You must confirm any requirements of the provincial medicare programs in your child’s province of residence as well as the province where they are attending school.

If you want your out-of-province student to have more robust coverage while away, you may want to consider purchasing student expatriate coverage. This can be obtained from a number of companies that specialize in individual benefits coverage. Alternatively, many schools offer health care packages for visiting students. Inquire at your child’s school to see what they have available.

>> The Benefits Trust has an Employee Resource Centre where you can find all the forms you need for your benefits plan. Contact us with any questions, and we’d be happy to help.


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