College Health 101: A Health Care Prep Course


| 3 min read

image of female college student holding books
You’ve done your back-to-school shopping and moved into your new dorm or apartment. The fall semester is starting. Before academic life gets too busy, prepare for your health care needs by going over these helpful tips: Be ready to use your online member account. Use the Blue Cross mobile app to register for your account with an iPhone® or Android™ phone or tablet. With the app, your member account goes with you everywhere, so once it’s set up, you can use it to find care, see what’s covered, and also, log in at You can even shop for health and fitness deals through Blue365® member discounts. Learn how your health care plan works. Health care plans can be confusing, especially if you haven’t used one on your own before. Talk with your parents about which type of coverage you have and how it works. Learn about common health insurance terms such as copayment, deductible and coinsurance. Keep your insurance card handy. Whether it’s the member ID card in your wallet or on the app, make sure it’s easily accessible. You’ll save yourself time by having the information ready when you see a new doctor. Know where to go to get care. If your school has a campus health center, check to see if it accepts your plan for basic care and flu shots. Accidents and sudden illnesses happen. Before you find yourself or a friend in the middle of one, know when you should (and shouldn’t) go to the emergency room and urgent care. And, learn how to use the app’s Find a Doctor search tool to find local urgent care and emergency room locations. When you get medical treatment, ask the provider to send a copy of your medical records to your primary care doctor. You can also check your benefits to see if you can sign up for affordable, Blue Cross Online Visits℠. Call a nurse if you have any medical questions. You can call a nurse for free, 24/7 from the app or dial direct with: 1-800-775-2583 for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan members 1-855-624-5214 for Blue Care Network member Know what’s covered and how much you’re going to pay for health care visits. When it comes to cost, nobody likes surprises. Use the app to check your coverage and figure out how much you’ll have to pay for health care visits and services ahead of time. Schedule your annual appointments with your primary doctor, dentist and eye doctor. Don’t let these important checkups fall by the wayside. If you happen to go to school far from home, make sure to schedule ahead of time. Breaks fill up quickly because everyone is trying to get in. Build a first aid kit. Nothing is worse than dragging yourself to the pharmacy when you’re starting to feel ill or have a scraped knee. Pack some basic items, such as:
  • Acetaminophen or ibuprofen
  • Antacids
  • Thermometer
  • Bandaids in various sizes
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Eye wash
  • Heat and ice packs
  • Cold and cough medicines
  • Cough drops
  • Flu medication
College is a new atmosphere, exposing you to new friends, new cultures, new foods… and new germs. Be sure to check in with your body and manage your stress levels to stay happy and healthy as you make the transition. Check out our checklists for parents and students as you enter this exciting time in your life. If you liked this, you might also like:
Photo credit: jacoblund
MI Blues Perspectives is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association