When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed, health insurance rules and regulations got a little trickier. Suddenly, you might have to fit within the open enrollment window in order to sign-up for individual health insurance and for the first time, you may be penalized if you don't have health insurance of some kind. What’s worse, even the healthiest uninsured young adult could end up thousands of dollars in debt if an unexpected medical emergency hits. That’s why health insurance should be a priority for this special group. But for a recent graduate or young professional, the entire process can start to look overwhelming and incredibly expensive.
The good news? There are tons of resources out there to help you get started.
WHY GET COVERAGE?
Even if you're in perfect health, there are plenty of good reasons to invest in health insurance. Unexpected, yet common, medical emergencies are one noteworthy reason to ensure you have a safety net in place, according to Referral MD. Fees for treating unforeseen health conditions could really set you back at a time when you’re just starting out. If you're lucky enough to not experience a medical emergency, you still may have fines to pay for going without health insurance. But, arguably the most convincing reason of all has to do with your health. ACA-compliant health plans offer free and low-cost preventive care services that would likely be too expensive for an uninsured millennial like you to pay out-of-pocket. Choosing to go without health coverage can risk both your future health and finances.
FINDING AFFORDABLE COVERAGE
US Pirg offers a fantastic set of resources for students and graduates to deal with the health insurance maelstrom. One of their top tips? The best kind of affordable coverage is free. Call your parents. No, really. Staying on your parents' insurance until you're 26 may give you an indisputable advantage.
The Conversation reports that many young adults consider anything upwards of $100 per month too steep to pay for a policy, especially with student loans to consider. But the first quotes you see aren't necessarily the price you'll end up paying. Though the premiums look high, many millennials decide that the advantages of having insurance – including all the preventive care coverage – make up for the cost, especially with the tax cuts and subsidies often available.
LEARNING THE LINGO
Making smart decisions about health insurance means speaking the language, and there's a lot to learn. NPR offers some insight into the resources available that can help break your options down into a format that's a little easier to understand.
It's easy to get started. Get a quote and delve a little deeper into your health insurance and subsidy options. You might come out of the health insurance world far better than you thought possible!