SOURCE: AgileHealthInsurance

AgileHealthInsurance

April 28, 2016 09:00 ET

Health Care Coverage One of Great Unknowns for College Grads

Confusion Over Options and Laws Face Millions About to Graduate

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA--(Marketwired - Apr 28, 2016) - For the millions of college students preparing to graduate over the next few months, determining their health care coverage after graduation can cause as much anxiety and confusion as finding a job or new housing. For many, the immediate post-college years represent the first time in life they may not be covered by their parents' policies or by their university. Moreover, it may also represent the first time they will be paying for health insurance on their own.

Regardless of whether students have offers in hand or are still hitting the pavement, here are several tips from AgileHealthInsurance.com they should keep in mind:

  • Examine your current student health coverage. Some student health plans will cover you beyond graduation, but every plan is different. If you have student health insurance, find out when your coverage will end.

  • Talk to your parent or guardian. The Affordable Care Act allows children to stay on their parents' plans until age 26. If you are already on your parents' plan, make sure everyone is on the same page as to how long you'll stay on that policy. Graduates wanting to join their parents' plans will have to enroll during open enrollment or a special enrollment period.

  • Learn about special enrollment periods and subsidies. Under the Affordable Care Act, you can only enroll in health coverage during open enrollment or if you qualify for a special enrollment period. While college graduation isn't a qualifying event, you may qualify due to another life event such as losing your student health plan coverage. You can compare coverage options at HealthCare.gov and see if you qualify for a subsidy.

  • Check out employer-based coverage. Some graduates may be starting a job immediately after graduation. Congrats! However, keep in mind employers can have up to a 90-day waiting period before benefits kick in. Plan ahead for how to have coverage in the meantime.

  • Consider term health insurance. If you have a gap between graduation and starting a job, term health insurance can serve as a bridge until you enroll in another plan. Term health insurance generally has lower premiums than Obamacare plans, but applications are approved or rejected based on health status, including the nature of pre-existing conditions. Additionally, consumers may still be subject to the Obamacare Tax depending on how long they have the coverage and whether they qualify for one of several exemptions.

"Graduates face what can seem to be a daunting, confusing landscape of health care coverage rules and regulations," says Sam Gibbs, executive director of AgileHealthInsurance.com. "Yet they have options and can arm themselves with knowledge to make the most informed, cost-effective health care choice that suits their needs."

All students should make sure they understand the benefits offered by different plans, as well as what terms like "premium" and "deductible" refer to. They also should familiarize themselves with the Affordable Care Act -- what it requires of them, if they are eligible to receive a subsidy and what the penalty is for not having ACA health insurance. In some instances, health care plans outside of the ACA may suit their needs well and still be less expensive even when factoring in the penalty they would pay.

Graduates also should stay informed about new Obamacare rates set to be released this summer; whether other large providers leave the government marketplace (as UnitedHealthcare recently did); and any changes to the ACA that may be proposed under a new president next year.

To learn more about term health insurance, visit AgileHealthInsurance's Learning Center at www.AgileHealthInsurance.com.

AgileHealthInsurance is the Internet's first site dedicated to helping consumers understand the benefits of term health insurance. These plans are the culmination of extensive research on health insurance needs in the Affordable Care Act era. AgileHealthInsurance also provides best-of-class plan comparison and online enrollment tools to accompany these new plans. Additional information can be found at www.AgileHealthInsurance.com

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