If your college student gets sick when they're at home, you know they'll probably be covered by your insurance. But what happens if they get sick next month when they're out of state at school?

That's when a college health care plan might come into play.

Many colleges offer the plans for students. And some even require them to buy one if they can't prove that they already have insurance. It can help your student get in-network care even when they're not in North Carolina. But a lot of these plans only cover the school year. So your student has two options for the rest of the year: Use a short-term plan when they're at home or stay on their family plan.

And that's also an option. It can be less expensive than buying a whole new plan. But if something happens you can rack up out-of-network costs if your child is out-of-state

There's one final option. Going away to college is considered a qualifying life event. And your student could get their own insurance. But unless there are simply no group options available, this option probably isn't the best financially-speaking.

Regardless, you need to take two steps. First, check with your child's college. Many have clinics that offer a variety of services regardless of your insurance. And check your child's health history. If they're relatively healthy with no consistent health issues, you may not even have to worry about out-of-network costs.