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You’re a College Grad! — Now What About Your Health Care?

You’re a newly minted college grad or a parent of a grad. Congratulations! You have begun working, expect to begin working soon, or are out job hunting. Maybe graduate school. Or whatever comes next. Lots to think about as you contemplate your next steps.

Health insurance is probably NOT high on the list. So many young people don’t want to think about health insurance until it is necessary to do so. This is especially true for college graduates starting out on their own. Some young adults have signed onto their parents coverage, and have the option of remaining a participant until age 26. For many, however, this is not an alternative.

If a student is covered by a college health plan, now is the time to check and see if there is a grace period during which the plan will remain in effect after graduation. Many university health plans extend coverage through the summer, which will give individuals time to review available options.

Open enrollment for health insurance exchange plans is over for 2014, however many college graduates may still be able to buy insurance through an exchange. The government offers several exceptions for people to enroll even after enrollment for the year closes. These “qualifying events” include loss of school based insurance, moving to a new area, and losing eligibility for a parent’s plan at age 26, among other life events.

Many new college grads are fortunate enough to have landed a job where there is an employer sponsored health plan. New employees receive health insurance information when they begin work. Keep in mind that there may be a gap between when a university plan ends and an employer plan begins so that being mindful of coverage dates is important.

Two additional facts to remember: being uninsured even for a short period of time can be and expensive proposition in the event of illness or injury, and remaining uninsured can trigger an income tax penalty of up to 1% of income

For additional information, contact EAB HealthWorks.