6 'Healthy' Items for the Back-to-College Checklist

In addition to backpacks, phone chargers and dorm room decorations, your student's back-to-college checklist should include a few items to help ensure their good health during the next school year.

"A lot of college students will have to learn how to take care of themselves while they're sick and away from home," said Martin Lustick, M.D., a pediatrician who is also corporate medical director at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. "To help give Mom and Dad peace of mind, there are steps they can take now to help their child get the care they need while they're away at school."

Here are "checklist" items to consider as you prepare your child for college:

#1 On Your Checklist

Your son or daughter should visit their doctor for an annual checkup. Make sure they're in good health before venturing off to school. They can ask about caring for themselves while at college and how they should acquire needed prescriptions. Don't forget those vaccinations, including shots for influenza, meningitis, cervical cancer and whooping cough.

#2 On-Campus Student Health Facility?

Check whether the college or university has an on-campus student health facility or some other type of arrangement. Learn where it's located and the hours of operation before a need arises.

#3 Get The Doctor's Digits

College-bound students should ask their doctor about the best way to reach them while they're at school. You often get the best care from the doctor who knows you best. Ask the doctor if they do visits by phone or video chat for those times when your child can't get to their office.

#4 FaceTime A Doc

Class. Laundry. Homework. Gym. Exam. It's hard to do all this stuff when you're sick.

Instead, your child can talk or video chat with a doctor for simple, non-emergency medical concerns. While the most ideal care is between them and their doctor, or face-to-face with a medical provider, telemedicine offers another option for those times when that just isn't possible. Telemedicine feels a lot like FaceTiming or Skyping, and can be done from their dorm room, apartment or between classes.

Students can register now for telemedicine so they're ready to use the app when they're sick. For more information, go to ExcellusBCBS.com/HealthCareLive.

#5 Got Insurance?

Your student can save themselves a hassle later on by registering now for an online account on their health insurer's website. They may "unlock" a bunch of important benefits, including instant access to their member card and a telemedicine service that lets them video chat with a doctor.

#6 No Insurance?

Their college may offer student health plans, or they can visit the NY State of Health marketplace for options.

If you need help finding your child a health plan, Excellus BCBS has licensed agents to help you over the phone (1-888-370-7098) and facilitated enrollers you can meet with in person (call 1-800-234-4781) to schedule an appointment. The facilitated enrollers can see if they qualify for financial help, explain all the options and help them choose a plan.

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Contact: Joy Davia Auch, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, (585) 238-4374

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, a nonprofit independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association, is part of a family of companies that finances and delivers vital health care services to about 1.5 million people across upstate New York. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield provides access to high-quality, affordable health coverage, including valuable health-related resources that our members use every day, such as cost-saving prescription drug discounts and wellness tracking tools. To learn more, visit excellusbcbs.com.

Source: Excellus BlueCross BlueShield