Congrats, graduates! Whether you’re heading into the working world or planning your next move, you have options for affordable health insurance that works for your life and your budget.
Health Insurance Options
You may get insurance through your job, but if you don’t, you still have options for coverage:
1. Under 26? Stay or get covered on your parent’s health insurance plan.
You may be able to be added to or stay covered under a parent’s health insurance plan until you turn 26 — even if you’re married, not living at home, financially independent, or have an offer of insurance through a job.
2. Buy your own health insurance plan.
You may be able to buy your own plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace (www.healthcare.gov). If you’re just starting out and not making much money, you’ll probably qualify for savings — which may make your monthly health insurance bill less than your cell phone bill.
You also can choose a “Catastrophic” health plan — an affordable way to protect yourself from worst-case scenarios.
Outside the yearly Open Enrollment Period, you can enroll only if you have a life change that qualifies you for a Special Enrollment Period. Turning 26 and dropping off a parent’s insurance plan, losing health insurance for any other reason (including losing coverage from Wheaton’s health plan), getting married, or having a baby are just a few changes that let you enroll in the off-season.
3. Get coverage through Medicaid or CHIP.
In some states, Medicaid covers all adults below a certain income level. If you qualify, you can enroll any time. Important: If you don’t have any health coverage you may have to pay a penalty. There’s no special exception for age or student status.