Health Insurance for College Graduates


Millions of young adults are currently uninsured, but you don't have to be one of them. This article details health insurance options.

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Every year, more than one million Americans earn a college degree. Graduation is supposed to be exciting, but flipping your tassel also means taking on new challenges. One of them is deciding what to do about health insurance.

When it comes to health coverage, recent graduates face a real predicament. They're no longer eligible for student or family policies, but they haven't found a job that offers them benefits. Little wonder that people 18 to 25 are the largest group of uninsured Americans.

But going without insurance is risky, even when you're young and healthy. And for most college grads, it really isn't necessary. In fact, there are lots of ways to find coverage while chasing that dream.

Find a part-time job with benefits. Some places offer health insurance to employees who work 20 or 30 hours a week. Waiting tables a few nights a week may be all you need to do to get coverage. If that's not your bag, try working at a gym, coffee shop or hotel. Large national corporations are more likely to offer benefits for part-time employees because they are most able to afford it. Just make sure to ask about benefits when you apply.

Take out a short-term policy. A number of insurers offer temporary coverage to recent grads. These policies last about three to six months and have a variety of features:

  • They can be tailored to your needs.
  • They are fairly inexpensive.
  • They're easy to cancel.
  • Some can be renewed.
  • Pre-existing conditions usually aren't covered.
  • You have to apply before graduation.

Even with those disadvantages, though, a short-term policy can still be helpful. If you're within a few months of finding a job, it might just be all the coverage you need.

Get a policy with a high deductible. A high deductible health plan (HDHP) is often a good option. Premiums are much lower than for standard policies. You have to pay the first few thousand dollars in health costs yourself. But in a real emergency, it can come in handy. Once you've met your deductible, the insurance coverage will kick in. If you get really sick your medical expenses may run high, but you won't have to declare bankruptcy over an illness. Young people are usually healthy and preventive care is almost always included in a HDHP at no additional cost.

Consider COBRA. The federal COBRA Act allows parents to keep children on their employer-sponsored policy for up to 36 months after college. But it's expensive. In fact, it's really just a worst-case option. When you go on COBRA, you have to pay all of the coverage costs plus a 2 percent administrative fee. The employer does not contribute to the plan. That means you end up paying out several hundred dollars a month. There's a time limit, too. You only have 60 days after dependent coverage ends to re-enroll.

COBRA may be a pain, but it does offer a major advantage. You get the full range of benefits and coverage. That means access to all network doctors and facilities. And when you take that into account, suhagra force might not be such a bad deal. Besides, there's one option that's can be costlier than paying for COBRA.

That's having no insurance at all.

 

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