If you are a recent college graduate, there is a lot that can occupy your attention: getting a job, finding a new place to live and perhaps even moving across the country. One more concern for recent graduates can be figuring out what to do about health insurance. Having a dependable health insurance plan is vitally important, even if you are in that “invincible” feeling of your early twenties.
What health insurance options are available for recent are available for recent graduates? We list a few key ones below.
Before the passage of the Affordable Care Act, health insurance providers would usually drop young adults from their parents’ plans as soon as they graduated college. But now, college graduates (or any young adult) can stay on their parents’ healthcare plan as a dependent until the age of 26.
This can be a tremendously advantageous option for those who already have a lot on their plate after graduation. It requires a minimum amount of work and lets your health benefits stay essentially the same while you sort out other important life decisions. While some options may vary from plan to plan, overall this is usually a strong choice for you to take if you can.
If you aren’t able to count on your parents’ insurance after college but expect to secure some insurance sooner rather than later, then it might be smart to get a short-term health insurance plan. Be cautious: short-term plans can vary from state to state and many may not have the same range of coverage as more robust options. But, if you only need coverage for a few months or a year—say, in a period between when you start a new job and the health benefits kick in—a short-term plan could be the perfect solution.
If you’re looking for a more comprehensive insurance plan, then you may want to look into getting an ACA-Compliant Plan. Each state will have its own exchange and you can enroll during Open Enrollment, though there are some Special Enrollment Periods depending on your circumstances. An ACA-Compliant Plan will get you more essential health benefits than a Short-Term Plan and also cover pre-existing conditions. If you don’t have any other immediate health insurance options, visiting your state’s exchange could be your best bet.
This step is definitely easier said than done, but certainly one ideal way to get health insurance is to get a job at an employer who will provide you with health benefits. Employer benefits are great because many companies offer robust plans and will also pay a large portion of your premiums. Though this can seem to be a lofty goal, there are many large organizations that offer health benefits to hourly workers, including Whole Foods, Starbucks, and JP Morgan. Even if you don’t see a long “career” at these jobs, they can provide a steady transition from college to your dream job.