It’s that time of a year—caps, gowns and celebrations. Congratulations to all the recent college graduates! All of your hard work, late nights in the library and cramming for exams have finally paid off. But as you begin thinking about what comes next, some concerns may float to the surface amid all of that excitement. Looking for work, possible relocations and paying off your student loans are all at the top of the list, but don’t forget about another important part of “adulting”: the need for health insurance.
Luckily, young adults have quite a few options.
Your individual circumstances can help lead you to your coverage decision. Employment status, income, age and access to a parent’s health insurance coverage are important factors to consider.
Short-term health insurance
If you need temporary coverage while looking for a job or need some time to decide what health insurance option works best for your situation, short-term medical may be right for you. As a healthy, young adult, this type of temporary coverage can help offset medical bills from injuries or illnesses. Short-term insurance provides limited benefits designed to cover individuals for a pre-determined length of time.
Individual market/ACA exchanges
Buying a marketplace plan could be the right option. As a recent graduate, you may be eligible for a special enrollment period, allowing you to purchase an exchange health insurance plan outside of the Open Enrollment Period if your university coverage ended, you’re moving to another plan area or experience other life events, like getting married or having a baby.
Benefits through your employer
Landed that dream job already? Your employer may offer benefits through a group health insurance plan. Contact your employer’s benefits adviser or human resources department for details.
Stay on or be added to your parent’s plan
Under the age of 26? You can usually be added to your parent’s health plan if it covers dependents (regardless of your employment status, marital status and financial dependence), whether or not you live with your parents and whether or not you attend school. Young adults have this option until the age of 26. If you don’t live in the same state as your parent, you may not have access to doctors in the network, making this option less than ideal.
Sign up for Medicaid
Eligibility for Medicaid is determined by factors like income, so as a recent graduate who is looking for employment, you may qualify. Income determinations are based on the Federal Poverty Level, which changes year-over-year. If you qualify, you may enroll immediately. Check with your state’s Medicaid program for eligibility criteria.