Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Health Insurance, What's a grad to do?

This article is a re-publish from May 17, 2017.  

Graduating students now have several options for insurance plans. The Affordable Care Act has introduced several options.


As graduation approaches for thousands of young adults this spring, sorting out your health insurance options may seem more daunting than any political economics problem you faced at school.
You may not think it’s a high priority, but remember: Even healthy young people wind up in the emergency room for all sorts of mishaps, and having health insurance will let you get preventive care, including contraceptives, without paying for it.
As graduation approaches for thousands of young adults this spring, sorting out your health insurance options may seem more daunting than any political economics problem you faced at school.
You may not think it’s a high priority, but remember: Even healthy young people wind up in the emergency room for all sorts of mishaps, and having health insurance will let you get preventive care, including contraceptives, without paying for it.
There are several items to consider when choosing.
Take A Look At Your Parents’ Health Insurance.
In 2015, 29 percent of 19- to 25-year-olds were covered as dependents on their parents’ job-based plan, according to a Commonwealth Fund analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey. It was the most common type of coverage for this age group.
Employer-sponsored plans are often more generous than an individual plan on the marketplace, with more comprehensive benefits and lower premiums and out-of-pocket costs. And parents can pass these benefits on.
Compare Coverage Through Your Employer.
Seventeen percent of young adults were insured by their own employer in 2015.
Large employers often offer insurance plans, called PPOs, that let workers choose their own doctors and providers from the insurer’s network and often allow them to seek care outside the network if the patient pays a larger share of the cost. A typical PPO plan offered by an employer with at least 500 employees paid for 87 percent of enrollees’ health care costs on average, according to data from benefits consultant Mercer. Compare that with the most popular silver-level plans sold on the ACA’s online marketplaces, which pay 70 percent of costs.
One benefit of an employer’s plan over your parents’: Buying your own plan may improve the odds that you’ll find doctors and hospitals nearby that are in your health plan’s provider network, said Erin Hemlin, director of training and education at Young Invincibles, an advocacy group for young adults.
If Employer Coverage Isn’t An Option, Consider The State Marketplace.
Twenty-two percent of young adults under 26 had marketplace coverage in 2015.
Marketplace plans must provide comprehensive coverage, including hospitalization, drugs and doctor visits. In addition, if your income is between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level (about $12,000 to $48,000 for an individual) you could qualify for tax credits that will help cover the cost of premiums.
If you have a college health plan that ends when you graduate, you may qualify for a special enrollment period to sign up for a marketplace plan. But if you’re uninsured or insured through your parents, you probably can’t buy a marketplace plan until the next open enrollment period in the fall.
A key consideration: If your parents claim you as a tax dependent, you can’t claim the premium tax credit yourself, said Judith Solomon, vice president for health policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Unemployed? Uninsured? Consider Medicaid.
In 2015, 15 percent of people between ages 19 and 25 were on Medicaid.
To date, 31 states and the District of Columbia have expanded Medicaid coverage to adults with incomes of about $16,000 or less.
If you don’t have a job or earn very little and you live in one of these states, you may qualify for Medicaid, which provides comprehensive coverage, typically without a premium.
Unlike marketplace coverage, there’s no open enrollment period for Medicaid. You can apply anytime through your state Medicaid agency, healthcare.gov or your state marketplace.
A key consideration: If your parents claim you as a dependent on their taxes, it could also affect your eligibility.
This story was produced by Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation.








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