How to Choose Health Insurance: A New Graduate’s Guide

How to Choose Health Insurance: A New Graduate’s Guide

May 13 2015

Getting health insurance post graduation can be worrisome for recent college grads, but it’s an important step that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Choosing a plan, making a decision and planning for the future can be overwhelming, but knowing your options and understanding your health care needs can make it a painless process!

Explore your options

Did you know after you graduate from college, you can stay on your parent’s health care plan (as long as they approve) if you are under 26 years old? Often, as is the case with your cell phone carrier, there are discounts available by having a family plan. It might be more economical for you to pay your portion of the family health plan instead of venturing out on your own. If you decide to stay on your parent’s plan for now, make sure you think about your health care needs and remember to plan ahead before you turn 26.

If you landed a job post graduation and your new employer offers employer-sponsored health insurance, you can choose to participate. Understanding the options that are offered is essential when selecting the best plan for your health care needs and budget. Don’t forget to ask questions about premiums and deductibles.

No matter what your situation is – don’t delay choosing a health insurance plan.

If your choices don’t include employee-sponsored options or staying on your parents plan, don’t worry! Open enrollment – which is the period when you can sign up for a new health plan each year — is over, but you can still get individual insurance throughout the year if you have a qualifying life event.

Qualifying life events include losing eligibility on a parent’s plan or moving to a new area. Using the marketplace will help you compare plans and choose the most appropriate option for you. And then when Nov. 1 rolls around, you can enroll on the marketplace to secure coverage for the 2016 calendar year.

Don’t wait

No matter what your situation is – don’t delay choosing a health insurance plan. Be aware of the date an existing plan is up so that you have time to research and buy a new policy. Many employers have a set amount of time to sign up as a new employee or you will have to forego health insurance through them for the year. If you have a qualifying life event and plan on purchasing from the marketplace, you will have 60 days from the date of the event to sign up for a plan.

Plan your transition

Plan ahead so that you are covered. Start thinking about your options and your health care needs early so that you can make a decision that is the right for you and your budget and so that you aren’t left without coverage.