This is a guest post by Carrie McLean, of eHealthInsurance.com.
A recent survey conducted by Kelton Research and sponsored by eHealthInsurance suggests that a substantial share of this year’s college grads could soon be on their own for health insurance. Though the 2010 health care reform law allows parents to keep adult children enrolled on their health plans until age 26, nearly four in ten parents surveyed (38%) said they did not intend to do so.
This may leave many of today’s college grads in the lurch. The survey, covering 500 current students and recent grads, as well as 500 parents, showed that today’s students are probably expecting a bit more help from Mom and Dad.
Nearly two thirds (63%) of current students think it’s only fair for their parents to help them cover health insurance costs for a year or more.
Student concerns over post-graduation insurance coverage are compounded by the fact that while the job market may be improving, it’s still no cake walk. Though they might be better off than last year’s grads, finding a job with benefits like employer-sponsored health insurance may prove a challenge.
If you’re the parent of a college student and want to encourage him or her to take some health insurance initiative this year, pass on the following tips:
Know your other non-parent options
2011 college grads may be able to choose from among the following coverage options:
- Employer-based health insurance – If you’re lucky, you’ll find a job right out of college with employer-based health coverage.
- Individually-purchased health insurance – If you’re young and relatively healthy, individual health insurance coverage can be an affordable option.
- Short-term health insurance – Consider short-term coverage if you expect to have employer-based health insurance within six months and only want basic protection for emergencies.
- Government high-risk pools – This may be an option if you’re declined for coverage on your own due to a pre-existing medical condition.
Take advantage of health care reform
Several key components of health care reform can help after graduation from college when they purchase new individual health insurance policies on their own:
- Lifetime dollar limits on coverage have been done away with for most medical services
- Most new individual and family plans provide up-front coverage for certain preventive care services – that means at no cost to you, even if your deductible isn’t met
- High risk pools have been established for people with pre-existing medical conditions who may not qualify for coverage on their own
Don’t expect a free ride
In case you weren’t taking notes, there was no “universal coverage” or “free” health insurance option included in the health care reform law. You’re not automatically covered. In fact, starting in 2014, you’ll most likely be required to purchase a health insurance plan on your own if you don’t already have one. There’s no time like the present, so get covered now.
Understand that the cost of a plan is about more than just monthly premiums
When reviewing quotes from different plans, keep in mind that the real-life cost of any health insurance plan is about more than the premiums you pay each month to maintain coverage. Pay special attention to the annual deductible you’ll be required to meet before your coverage really kicks in, plus co-payments and coinsurance. Coinsurance is when you pay a percentage of the bill and the insurer picks up the rest. Some people don’t realize it, but in many cases you’ll still have to pay coinsurance even after your deductible is met.
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