Before you decide . . .

Carefully review plan prices and benefits, which can vary quite a bit.

Check if your family plan has in-network providers near your child’s school; using them can keep your costs down.

Make sure that a student plan conforms with the 2010 health law, including the requirement for preventive coverage without a co-pay. You can ask your school’s insurance administrator for that information or look at the rules online at Plans that don’t follow such guidelines should provide you written notice of that.

Ask your university if the student plan also follows American College Health Association guidelines, which recommend covering catastrophic situations and psychotropic medications.

Compare the mental health benefits offered by your family plan and by a school plan that you might be considering. Advocates say these benefits, including therapy sessions and medications, may be among the most important for stressed-out college-age students.

Christian Torres