North Richland Hills, TX – When your children graduate, there are two things you need to know. First of all, congratulations. Second, consider their health insurance needs.
It might be the last thing you’ll wonder about, but it might be one of the most important. About one in five people in their twenties don’t have health insurance, according to recent studies. However, an unexpected illness or accident could have lasting health and financial consequences.
And now is the time to start. Many colleges and universities require undergraduate and graduate students to have health care coverage while enrolled. While some may be covered by parents’ health insurance, others choose health plans offered by health insurers through the school. Students have until their plan’s expiration date, which varies by plan, to enroll in new plans. So “First step”, know when it is.
Healthcare coverage advice and enrollment support
Families can find help from health care marketplaces, insurance companies, insurance brokers and other licensed insurance agents to help them determine which plan is right for them.
For example, GetCovered, powered by HealthMarkets, is a free service that provides advice to people who need health coverage. Call 877.650.1065 or visit www.getcover.com/graduate to start. By working with licensed insurance agents, individuals can find out what they are entitled to and which best suits their needs. Agents can also help them enroll in these plans, when they can.
Questions to ask
To find the right coverage, it’s important to know what’s available, what to ask for, and what information is needed to enroll. To narrow down the options, know:
- When does your child’s current coverage end?
- Is coverage from my plan an option? Under the Affordable Care Act’s “Age 26” rule, parents and guardians can keep or add their children to their plans until their 26th birthday or another date that year, if you’re enrolled , and additional bonuses are paid. Go to https://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/about-the-aca/young-adult-coverage. Also, be sure to check state regulations, as some have extended eligibility past age 26.
- What benefits does my child need or want?
- What can we afford? Consider how much of their monthly budget can be used for health coverage or other insurance. Young adults may be eligible for additional options depending on their particular financial situation.
Health coverage options
If coverage under the 26-year rule is not an option, consider:
- Medicaid/Medicare—While Medicare coverage is primarily available to people over age 65, eligibility for Medicaid is based on income, disability, and other circumstances.
- Individual Exchange/Marketplace Plans – These ACA plans are available through federal or state (Affordable Care Act) registration sites. Depending on their income, your graduate may be eligible for plan grants, which makes one of these plans more affordable. Graduation would be a “qualifying life event” to enroll in an ACA plan outside of the annual open enrollment period.
- Short Term Plans – Short term insurance plans with a limited duration provide temporary coverage to bridge the gap between longer term insurance coverage. These plans have a fixed term of a few months or even years and offer different levels of coverage than ACA plans.
“Health coverage decisions can be simplified, and there are resources to help you,” Smith said. “Whether your family chooses to do their own research and enrollment or hire outside services, determining what your graduate may need and can afford will help you find health coverage that ensures your child has access care now.”