One Last Test for College Graduates: Health Insurance 101

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Your graduation is something to celebrate. And as our gift to you, here’s a little advice about health insurance and how to find the best plan for you under the Affordable Care Act.

We know, you’re probably thinking to yourself, “Why do I need health insurance? I don’t get sick that often and even when I do, I usually don’t need to go to the doctor.”

But you can never tell when an illness might turn into something more serious and require a trip to the doctor. Having insurance means you can see a doctor and get the care you need and get back on the road to feeling better sooner. Health insurance can also protect you from major medical expenses due to broken bones, surgeries, and real emergencies. Without health insurance, these trips to the hospital could cost you tens of thousands of dollars.

So where do you start?

Talk to mom and dad.

Just because you’re on your own doesn’t mean you can’t get a little help from your parents—especially if you’re still looking for your first real job.

Did you know that if you’re under the age of 26, you may be able to get coverage through your parents’ health insurance plan?

It’s true.

While coverage through your parents may mean cheaper rates and more comprehensive coverage, make sure this is the right decision for you. For example, if you live far away from your parents, you could have a hard time finding doctors and hospitals that are in your plan’s network. And if a doctor, urgent care center, or hospital is considered out-of-network, this could mean very expensive medical bills for you. So if you choose this route, make sure you do a little research and find providers near you who accept your parents’ health insurance.

Want to find out if you’re eligible for coverage with your parents? Click here.

Get coverage through your job

Maybe you’ve already started your new career. In this case ask your Human Resources representative for more information about the health insurance coverage your employer offers.

Check out the Humana plans in your area

The Affordable Care Act has made it, well, more affordable than ever for people your age to get health insurance. In fact, there are 4.5 million young adults insured right now who wouldn’t have been able to afford coverage. And 83.2% of American’s aged 18 to 25 now have health insurance.1

So join them and sign up. It’s actually pretty easy. Click here to see how you can choose your new health insurance plan in three simple steps. Every new plan includes a comprehensive set of benefits including physician visits, preventive care, hospital stays, and prescriptions.

The Open Enrollment period for 2015 is over. However, as a recent graduate, you are likely to qualify for a Special Enrollment Period if you’re the coverage you had in college is ending or you are coming off your parents’ plan. Click here to see if you’re eligible to enroll.

What if you don’t sign up for healthcare?

If you can afford health insurance but don’t choose a plan, unfortunately, you’ll have to pay a penalty. In 2016, the penalty for not having coverage is either 2.5% of your yearly income or $695 per person. That means if you make $29,000 per year, you would be paying $725. This is another reason to choose a plan. Instead of paying a penalty, do something good for your health and put that money toward coverage.

Good luck, graduates

Be proud of yourself. Graduation is a major accomplishment. And one of the smartest things you can do for yourself is to invest in your health. So make sure you choose a health insurance plan that fits you and your new life.

Sources:

1 Why Young Millennials Are Turning Down Health Coverage at Work.
http://time.com/money/3821525/health-insurance-age-26/

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