There’s one inevitable life-truth they don’t teach you in college: Adulting is really hard. Once you’re out of school, there’s a lengthy checklist of things you have to do to kill it in the adult world. Get a job. Find an apartment. Chip away at that student loan debt. Remember to pay those bills, bills, bills. Keep your chin up and your head on your shoulders. And, the one that’s probably the most annoying: Buy your own health insurance plan.
We get it. If you’re young and healthy, what’s the point of throwing away hard-earned cash on health insurance? Truth be told, if you don’t buy a health plan, you could still get hit with thousands of dollars in medical bills if an unanticipated health issue occurs.
It’s important to know your options and check off this major to-do. But don’t worry – we’re here to help. Here’s how to get health insurance as an adult.
The four phases of health insurance adulting
In health insurance terms, age isn’t just a number. It determines exactly the kind of health plan you’re eligible for, which can save you money. Here are some important health insurance milestones you need to be aware of:
|The Four Phases of Health Insurance Adulting|
|If youre 18-25||If you’re 26+||If you’re 30+||If you have a full time job|
|Stay on your parents plan: you can remain on a family plan until you turn 26.||Buy a catastrophic plan: It has a low premium, high deductible plan offers bare-bones benefis designed for healthy persons under 30.||Find new insurance: if you had a catastrophic plan, your insurer will automatically move you into a new plan with similar benefits when you turn 30, but feel free to shop around.||Sign up for a plan through work: Most employers provide group health insurance and often subsidize the cost of monthly premiums.|
|Get insured through school: many colleges offer affordable student health plans.||Apply for a rider: In some cases, you can stay on your parent’s plan after age 26.|
Your options for health insurance coverage
When it comes to obtaining health insurance coverage, you’ve got options. Depending on your current life situation (employment, income, age), how you sign up for health coverage can save you cash in the long run. Here are your options:
- Stay on your parent’s plan. We know you want your independence, but if you’re under 26, this is one of the cheapest options for you to remain covered. Family plans tend to have more extensive coverage than catastrophic plans, which cover the cost of care in the event of an emergency.
- Use your student benefits. Full-time students may have the option of obtaining coverage through their university. If you’re currently in school, talk to your admissions office about how to get coverage. This may be particularly useful if you go to school out of state. Most health insurance plans only offer full coverage in the state where you live. If you regularly see a doctor, then it might be wise to get covered on your school’s plan.
- Have your boss pick up the tab. Now that you’ve landed a sweet gig to pay the bills, check with your employer to see if they offer health benefits. Many companies chip in to pay part of your monthly premium costs, and some will even cover the full amount. Either way, you’ll still be responsible for paying your deductible, copayments and coinsurance, and other health care costs until you reach your out-of-pocket max.
- Buy your own plan through a health insurance company or broker. If you’re not eligible for subsidies, you can purchase insurance directly through Star General Health & Life Insurance Agents & Brokers Ltd.
Now that you know your options, it’s time to start shopping for a plan. But before you do, you’ll want to collect some information.
First, find out the details of your current insurance plan, including the company, plan type, and covered doctors. If you’re happy with your current docs, you’ll want to find a new plan with similar coverage.
Next, obtain a record of your income from last year, and consider what you expect to make this year. This information is essential when you’re applying for coverage.
Finally, figure out your health care needs and current spending so you can pick the plan that will save you the most money. If you go to the doctor frequently, then you might want to select a plan with a higher premium and lower deductible. If you’re healthy and don’t see a doctor often, then a catastrophic plan might be your best bet if you’re under 30.
Adulting can be overwhelming at first, but once you get into the swing of it, it’s a cinch.