Most colleges require their students to have basic health insurance coverage before they can attend. Students may choose to purchase their insurance policy directly from the school, or follow another route to coverage: staying on their parent’s plan, purchasing coverage through the federal government or private insurer, or enrolling in Medicaid. Picking a plan with the right amount of coverage for your needs and health situation can be hard since there are so many offerings, but knowing the ins and outs of HMOs, PPOs and metal tiers can help you choose the right policy.

Health insurance is a preventative measure that will save you money if you get sick, require hospitalization, need to go for medical tests, or need to fill prescriptions. As a college student, you will likely be required to have insurance by your school. You may be able to stay on your parent’s plan or get coverage through your school, the federal government, or a private insurance company. If your income falls below 133% of the federal poverty level and your state participates, you may also be eligible for Medicaid.

Before choosing a plan, take some time to estimate your annual medical costs. The amount of coverage you need (and the price you’re willing to pay each month) will differ based on your projected expenses. While all plans have a certain amount of out-of-pocket costs, these will also vary between policies. You will have to choose if you’d like to pick your providers at all times (PPO) or be allowed to pick within a network (HMO) before finally deciding on a specific health insurance plan.