Posted: 9:22 a.m. Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Top 7 Health Insurance Tips for 2012 College Grads
1. Consider all your options.
· Employer-based health insurance – These plans often provide rich benefits, and monthly premiums are split between employee and employer.
· Individually-purchased health insurance – Young and relatively healthy grads should be able to find individual coverage at relatively affordable prices. Health care reform improved key aspects of these plans by doing away with lifetime coverage limits and improving access to many preventive medical services.
· Health insurance coverage through a parent – Health care reform made it possible for children to stay on a parent’s health insurance plan until age 26. However, if you live in different state than your parents your benefit levels may be severely reduced.
2. Watch out for changes to the health care reform law. If it’s struck down or radically altered, the provision of the law allowing young adults under age 26 to retain coverage under a parent’s plan could be invalidated too.
3. Go Mobile. If you’re like most young people, you spend many of your waking hours staring at a smart phone. There are some great apps out there that can help you find coverage, track your health, and manage your health care spending.
4. Fill in the gaps with supplemental insurance. If you buy a high deductible health insurance plan, consider accident and/or critical illness insurance too. These plans can help you cover out-of-pocket costs if unexpected medical costs arise, and they’re relatively affordable..
5. Think about why you need coverage – and for how long. Many young adults only want a health insurance plan that will provide back-up coverage in case of a serious injury or illness. Others may only need something to cover them for a few months until employer-based coverage kicks in. Short-term coverage typically lasts up to six months at a time
6. Don’t be afraid of high deductibles. Some health insurance plans with lower monthly premiums tend to come with higher annual deductibles. If you’re relatively healthy and don’t visit the doctor often, a high-deductible plan may be right for you
7. Don’t go without health insurance. Healthy young people who almost never get sick often imagine they don’t need health insurance. But you do need it. When you’re fresh out of college your financial future is less than assured. An unexpected illness or injury could put you in a huge financial hole if you’re uninsured. Don’t hamstring your financial future before it even starts by going without coverage.