Posted July 29, 2015 by

Health Insurance Options for College Graduates

Brandon Cruz

Brandon Cruz, President of GoHealth Insurance

Graduating from college is an exciting time that is full of new experiences. While embarking on the post-college journey, it’s important for new graduates to consider how they intend to obtain health insurance. The good news is that today’s young adults may have more options than in the past. Consider six different ways for college graduates to get covered.

1. Group Health Insurance From an Employer

College graduates who are going to start working as an employee for a company may have the chance to enjoy group medical benefits from an employer. Most large employers and many smaller ones also offer to pay part of the premium as a benefit for their employees. Typically, a good group medical plan is a great option if it’s available.

2. Family and Individual Marketplace Health Insurance

According to fairly recent figures from the Kaiser Family Foundation, about only half of Americans enjoy group medical benefits. About 6 percent of Americans chose to purchase individual or family medical policies, and this number might increase because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). People in some states have state exchanges, and folks in states without a state exchange can apply at HealthCare.gov. Those who are unsure where to apply can always visit HealthCare.gov to learn more. Folks with modest incomes might qualify for health insurance subsidies, and this is determined at the time of application.

3. Private Marketplace Health Insurance for Families and Individuals

Many health insurance companies also offer health plans that don’t qualify for the ACA marketplaces. This is an option to consider for people who make too much money to qualify for a subsidy. It’s also an option to consider when enrolling outside of the Marketplace Open Enrollment periods for those who do not qualify for an enrollment exemption. Since insurance companies don’t always offer all of their plans on the marketplace, this might give people more choices to find a plan that fits their needs.

4. Parent’s Health Insurance

In accordance with the ACA, children can remain on their parents’ health insurance plan until age 26 under most circumstances. In some states, the maximum age is higher. This is true even if the adult child is married, enrolled in college, has the option to sign up for an employer’s group medical plan, and no longer is their parents’ dependent. Remaining on a parent’s health plan might be a sensible option for college grads who don’t have a job or are planning to continue their education.

5. Public Health Insurance

Most college graduates are too old to qualify for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) under regular circumstances. However, CHIP might cover pregnant women who have a modest income and few assets. Medicaid is the large federal health insurance program for people with low incomes and very few assets. The rules to qualify vary from state to state, but it might be another option for some college graduates. The federal or state exchanges have applications that can help people qualify for these public medical plans.

6. Catastrophic Health Insurance

Like regular marketplace health insurance, catastrophic health insurance is available through health marketplaces. It’s available to people who are under 30 and qualify for a special hardship exemption. Qualifying for these plans is based on income — and the application process for marketplace, public and catastrophic plans is the same. Once the application has been completed, the system will offer options.

Why College Graduates Need Heath Insurance

College graduates aren’t exempt from possible tax penalties for failure to have health insurance. Furthermore, quality major medical insurance helps ensure easy access to good medical care in case a student gets hurt or sick.

Author Bio:

Brandon Cruz is the President of GoHealth Insurance. GoHealth powers one of the nation’s leading private health insurance exchanges for individuals and families.

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