Finding Affordable Health Care for College Grads

Worrying about being able to afford health insurance is one of the last things a recent college graduate wants to do. Recent changes to the health care system are lessening the need to worry by offering college graduates more opportunities to secure coverage.

Students graduating from college this month are going to have a lot on their minds, as they attempt to find a job, move into a new place, and settle into their new lives. Securing health insurance isn’t something else they should have to worry about. Thanks to the provisions of the recent health care legislation, college graduates will now be able to find a variety of affordable health care options.

The legislation includes incentives for small businesses to offer insurance to employees, and this could have a profound impact on those young graduates out there looking for a job. As more companies begin to offer insurance to employees, college graduates will have greater choices and will not have to turn down job opportunities because health insurance is not available.

One of the most significant healthcare reforms that will take effect later this year is the extension of time college students and graduates can be covered under their parents’ policy. Starting September 23, 2010, dependents under the age of 26 can re-enroll with a parent’s health insurance plan, and some insurance companies will begin this re-enrollment period early. While this will give college graduates more opportunities to secure health care, it may not be the most affordable option. While insurance companies may be required to cover dependents under the age of 26, it may significantly increase their parents’ premiums. College graduates should compare this amount with quotes from leading health insurance companies in their area to see if it makes more sense to buy individual coverage.

Purchasing individual health insurance may be the only option for some college graduates, as they may not qualify to re-enroll in their parents’ plan or be able to secure employer-based health insurance. College students may be able to secure affordable health care by choosing a plan with a higher deductible. The annual deductible on a health insurance plan is the amount the insured has to pay, not including co-payments, before the health insurance kicks in. Health insurance plans come with varying deductible levels and typically range from $250 or less to as much as $5,000 a year. Normally, the higher deductible one chooses, the lower the monthly payment will be.

Another affordable option available to college graduates is short-term health insurance. Short-term health insurance policies aren’t intended to cover the average visit to the doctor for a cold. Instead, they are intended to provide coverage for significant events while an individual is between more extensive policies. Short-term policies might be the right choice for some college graduates, but they should read the fine print before purchasing a policy. Some short-term policies allow for the insured to be dropped at the beginning of each month if he or she has become an expensive person to insure.

Many college graduates choose to go without insurance because they do not have much income right out of school and are faced with repaying hefty student loans. Going without insurance, though, could put college grads at risk of adding thousands of dollars of medical bills to their existing debt.

College graduates should carefully consider all of their health care options and compare policies before going forward with securing health insurance.

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