Congratulations! You’ve graduated! Now what?
For many new graduates, it’s time to think about health insurance!
If you are entering the working world, you may be eligible for health insurance through your employer.
But if you don’t get a job right away, you still need health insurance (it’s the law!) and you have a few options:
1 – Remain on Your Parent’s Health Plan
If your parent’s health plan covers children, you can be added to or stay on that plan until age 26. This is true if you are married, not living at home, or financially independent from your parents.
2 -Purchase Your Own Health Insurance
You can purchase health insurance in the individual marketplace.
All Affordable Care Act (ACA)-compliant plans cover things like doctor visits, preventive care, immunizations, inpatient hospital stays, prescriptions, etc.
Depending on your income level, you may even be eligible for a subsidy to help you pay for coverage.
Each year, there is a period of open enrollment during which you can purchase coverage for any reason. For 2016 plans, open enrollment ended on January 31, 2016.
Outside the dates of open enrollment, however, you may enroll during a special enrollment period if you experience a qualifying event.
Here are some qualifying events that are pretty common for new graduates:
- Your student health plan ends
- You lose other health insurance when you graduate
- You move to a new area
- You get married or have a baby
- You age off of your parent’s health plan
If you do experience one of these or other qualifying events, get in touch with us at 703-707-8270 right away. You typically have 60 days from the date of the event to buy coverage.
3 – Buy Short-Term Health Insurance
Although we don’t recommend short-term health insurance in general, there are times when it is the best option.
Some things to keep in mind:
- Short-term plans are not subject to the rules of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Therefore, they provide less coverage than ACA-compliant plans. Since they do not meet ACA minimum essential coverage requirements they typically do not cover things like preventive care, immunizations, maternity care, allergies, etc.
- Short-term coverage can be denied for anyone who is sick.
- Pre-existing conditions are usually not covered by short-term policies.
- A short-term policy does not have guaranteed renewal. This means if you buy, for example, a 60-day plan, the carrier is not required to renew your coverage at the end of 60 days. If you get sick during those 60 days, your request to renew can be denied.
- If you get sick during your initial policy period and your carrier does permit you to renew, that sickness is now considered a pre-existing condition under your new policy. Any treatment for that condition will be denied.
- Since short-term plans do not meet minimum essential coverage requirements, they do not satisfy ACA’s individual mandate. This means if you have a short-term policy, you may still be subjected to a tax penalty under ACA.
Short-term coverage is not ideal, but it is surely better than having no coverage at all. Click here for more information.
Virginia Medical Plans Can Help
If you live in Virginia, Maryland, or the District of Columbia, we can help you find the best coverage to meet your needs based on your situation.
If you are a Virginia or DC resident, we can help you enroll in a plan with or without a subsidy. If you live in Maryland, we can help you enroll off-exchange (without a subsidy).
Give us a call at 703-707-8270 or visit Health Insurance under the Get Coverage section in the upper right corner of this page to get started.