There are already a number of health insurance options for college graduates to consider. And by year’s end, the health reform law will bring new choices for everyone.
- Be true to your school. If you’re covered by a college health plan now, check to see whether there is a grace period during which you’ll remain covered after graduation. It varies by school and circumstance, but generally plans will extend through the summer. And if you’re continuing on for an advanced degree, consider sticking with the plan offered at school, says Tamika Butler, the California director of Washington, D.C.-based Young Invincibles (younginvincibles.org), a national organization that seeks to represent the interests of 18- to 34-year-olds.
- Ask at work. New grads fortunate enough to have landed a job should ask about health insurance at work. Be sure to get help from the company’s benefits department if needed, Butler says. “Healthcare is a big decision, so don’t be afraid to say, ‘It’s my first time and I have a few questions.’”
- Stick with Mom and Dad. Under the healthcare reform law, most young adults can now stay on their parents’ insurance plan until the age of 26, even if they’re married, financially independent or live in another state. It’s a popular option that has helped more than 3 million young adults nationwide gain coverage, but it may not work if you don’t live near your parents. Many health plans require you to use a network of healthcare providers within the geographic area in which the policy is issued.
“When you’re in a different area, sometimes it just doesn’t work,” says Carrie McLean, senior manager of customer care with online insurance broker EHealthInsurance.
- What will it cost you? It depends. You can get an idea of how much insurance will cost you when you buy coverage through the state’s program. There is a cost calculator available on the Covered California website at www.coveredca.com/calculating_the_cost.html. It requires just a few pieces of information, including your household income and the age of the family members you wish to cover. Gray’s bicycle accident left him with some hearing loss that he says may get better with time. But he is relieved that he had insurance that covered most of his bills. “It’s worth paying the extra dollars,” Gray says of his health plan. “It fosters financial ruin to not have health insurance in this country.”
Although we did not create this material, anyone of us at The Jordan Group can help you navigate the unsure waters that are Health Care.