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Blog: Signing Up For Health Insurance

July 16, 2015

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After years of hard work (and a little fun), you’ve graduated!  With your diploma in hand, you are tackling new challenges…finding a job, moving into a new place, and dealing with “real world” responsibilities for the first time.  Getting health insurance may not be your first priority, but in the post-Obamacare world, it definitely needs to be on your “to-do” list.  Under this federal law, if you can afford health coverage but you don’t have it, you may have to pay a fee.

If you have landed a job already, congratulations!  Your employer may provide group health insurance as part of your benefit package.  In that case, make sure you sign up as soon as you meet the eligibility requirements for coverage.  But if you don’t get a job right away or your employer doesn’t offer health insurance or the plan offered is not affordable for you, you have other options.

Until you turn 26, you may be able to stay covered on a parent’s health plan.  This is true even if you are married, not living at home, or are not financially dependent on your parents.

Coverage is available through the Health Insurance Marketplace established under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2013.  All Marketplace plans are required to offer a range of comprehensive benefits including coverage for physician visits, preventive care, hospital stays, and prescriptions.  You may qualify for a special enrollment period to sign up for health insurance if your student health plan ended or you lost other coverage upon graduation.  Special enrollment options are also available when you turn 26 or if you experience another qualifying event such as getting married, having a baby or moving to a new area.

Health coverage is available for qualified low-income individuals, families with children, pregnant women, and disabled individuals through programs like Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).  If you qualify for these programs, there is no defined enrollment period and you can enroll at any time.

If you are under 30, you may opt to buy a catastrophic health plan.  In addition to providing an affordable way to protect yourself from the high costs associated with a serious illness or injury, catastrophic health plans cover three primary care visits per year before you meet your deductible and other limited preventive care benefits.

You can find detailed information about your options at HeathCare.gov 

This blog post is authored by CYNTHIA C. MOSER and meant for informational purposes only. It is not meant to provide legal advice in any particular circumstance or factual situation. You should consult with an attorney prior to taking any action regarding the information contained herein.

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