How much health insurance you should get as a college graduate is very much dependent on your personal circumstances and wishes. If you are tight on funds, you may wish to get an affordable insurance plan that only offers basic coverage.
But if you have a pre-existing health condition, you will want to make sure your coverage is more robust. There are of course lots of different circumstances. So, to help you decide how much health insurance you need, here is a look at some of the insurance plan options you could choose.
Private and Public Health Insurance Options
First off, you need to know the difference between private health insurance and public health insurance.
These are the two most common types of coverage and both have different provisions and pros and cons.
Private health insurance plans are provided by individual companies like a private insurance company or employer.
With private health insurance, you can go with an employer-sponsored health insurance plan or an individual plan.
Public health insurance is a program run by your local, state or federal government in which some or all of the cost of healthcare is covered.
However, public health insurance is difficult to get. There are strict eligibility requirements you have to meet to qualify, which include things like your health conditions and citizenship.
Furthermore, some health facilities and medical service providers do not serve people with public health insurance.
Policies can also be limited in the treatments they allow. Check out this article about private vs public health insurance so you can get a more detailed overview and determine which type of plan is best for you.
The Family Health Insurance Plan Option
You are legally allowed to stay on your mom and dad’s family health insurance plan until you reach your 26th birthday.
Many graduates simply use this option because it requires no additional expense.
However, if you are living in a different city without access to the network providers on your parents’ health insurance plan, it will make sense to buy your own insurance.
Consider Short-term Coverage
If you are not expecting employer-based health insurance coverage to come into effect for a while and you cannot afford or are not eligible for coverage through another source, you can consider short-term coverage.
A short-term plan can last between thirty days and twelve months, making it ideal for college graduates in limbo.
However, a short-term health insurance plan does not meet the coverage requirements of the Affordable Care Act, so you could still have to pay tax.
Also, short-term plans may not provide coverage for things like pre-existing medical conditions, prescription drugs, and preventive care.
Short-term plans are inexpensive, though, and they can help you limit your financial risk should you need care for an unexpected illness or injury.
Consider a Catastrophic Health Insurance Plan
Another option you have as a college graduate is a catastrophic health insurance plan.
This type of plan is primarily designed for people under the age of thirty.
Although this plan does not provide as much coverage overall as typical plans, it can be much more affordable. Coverage requirements will be met under the health care reform law.
However, you cannot use government subsidies to help pay for the cost.
If you cannot afford robust health insurance coverage and are looking for a backup should you face an emergency, a catastrophic health insurance plan is a good option.