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Shopping for health insurance can be eye-opening for college grads, young adults

healthinsurance.org offers tips for first-time insurance shoppers

Minneapolis, MN, May 09, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As college graduates embark on their future, they face a multitude of new decisions, and choosing the right health insurance plan may be one of their most important. Today, healthinsurance.org offers tips for first-time health insurance shoppers.

“Purchasing health insurance is a rite of financial passage for almost all young adults, and it often happens right after college graduation,” said Louise Norris, health policy analyst for healthinsurance.org. “Yet the health insurance landscape can be confusing and intimidating to the uninitiated.” 

Norris is the author of healthinsurance.org’s coverage guide for college students and graduates, which provides a crash course on shopping for health insurance as a young adult. 

Her main advice for graduates is this: If you had insurance through your school, you probably will not continue to be eligible for that after graduating. Act fast to avoid a coverage gap. Begin by studying up on these primary ways to get healthcare coverage: 

Through a job. College grads with a job lined up may receive insurance from their employer, who may pay a portion of the monthly premium, with the remaining portion deducted from the worker’s paycheck. Eligibility for enrollment may depend on conditions, like a minimum work period or weekly hours.

Through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace. College graduates and young adults who just lost coverage – perhaps because they turned 26 or lost student health plan coverage – have 60 days from the end date of their old coverage to enroll in an ACA  plan. If they procrastinate, they’ll need to wait until the next annual open enrollment period, typically Nov. 1 through Jan. 15 in most states, unless they have a qualifying life event. 

Good news for the cash-strapped: Marketplace plans will be more affordable for many young adults through 2025 thanks to subsidy enhancements that are part of the American Rescue Plan. 

“The Marketplace is essentially one-stop online shopping for health insurance,” said Norris. “But it’s important to look beyond just the plan price, or premium, because that’s one of the most common mistakes made by first-time shoppers. The overall price of a health plan includes a variety of factors, not just the monthly premium price.”

In addition to premium costs, plan holders also have cost-sharing responsibilities that vary by plan. These could include copayments for office visits; a deductible that must be met before the plan starts paying for certain services or medications; or coinsurance, which is a percentage of costs the plan holder is responsible for paying. 

Through your parents. Adults under age 26 may remain on a parent’s health insurance plan. However, if they live in a different state from their parent, provider network restrictions may make this option unfeasible.

Through Medicaid. In 40 states, Medicaid eligibility has been expanded to cover low-income adults under 65. Applications are available year-round, and there are no premiums in most cases.  

"Although shopping for health insurance may seem daunting and new, young adults today have numerous options," stated Norris. "The key is to tackle the search head-on, because delaying can limit your coverage options.” 

Healthinsurance.org provides online resources for consumers about individual and family health insurance. Healthinsurance.org, owned by HealthInsurance.org, LLC, has been providing consumer information about health insurance and health reform for over 25 years.


healthinsurance.org
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