Being an adult is hard. And as the youngest of Millenials finally reach the threshold of adulthood, this fact is becoming more apparent to an entire generation. In just a couple of years, every Millenial will reach the age where they’ll be required to buy their own health insurance.
A person who is young and healthy may think that they have no need for health insurance. But they’d be sorely mistaken.
Accidents, illnesses, and other complications can pop up in an instant. And those without health insurance may find themselves having to pay thousands in medical bills.
Unfortunately, knowing how to get good health insurance isn’t the easiest thing to figure out. Luckily, we’re here to help. Continue reading and we’ll walk you through how to find the right health insurance for you – Millenial edition.
The Four Phases of Buying Health Insurance
When it comes to buying health insurance, your age is extremely important. That’s because it determines the type of plan that you’ll be able to get. The plan you choose will affect how much money you’ll be able to save.
Let’s look at the four age ranges and what your best options are for each.
If you’re under 26 years old, one of the cheapest healthcare options for you is to stay on your parent’s health insurance plan. There are a few reasons for this.
First, you don’t have to pay to be on your parent’s plan. At least not legally. Your parent may, however, ask that you contribute some money to help pay for the plan.
Also, family plans, more often than not, get more extensive coverage than your standard catastrophic plans. Those tend to cover the cost of care just for emergencies.
And even if you get married, as long as you’re under 26 years old, you can still stay on your parent’s health insurance plan. However, your spouse won’t be able to use your parent’s health insurance, unfortunately.
Get Insurance Through Your School
Another affordable way to get health insurance at this age is through your school. If you’re a full-time college student, you may have the ability to get coverage through your university. Set up a meeting with your admissions office and ask how you can get coverage.
And if you go to an out of state school, then this will be even more useful. That’s because of the fact that the majority of health insurance plans only give full coverage for the state that you reside in. If you visit the doctor often, then getting insurance through your school can be a wise move.
As the name implies, a catastrophic health plan is a type of medical insurance meant to cover you for emergency situations. This is a high deductible plan meant for healthy people under the age of 30.
Your monthly plan premiums should be fairly low. But until you reach the plan’s annual deductible, you’re going to have to pay for your healthcare costs out of your own pocket. This tends to be at least several thousand dollars.
A catastrophic health insurance plan isn’t for everyone. Below are some reasons why a person would choose this plan:
- To pay lower premiums or they can’t afford coverage that’s more expensive
- You don’t mind paying high costs out of pocket
- You don’t qualify for Medicaid
- You rarely see the doctor and are generally healthy
- You want to be prepared for a “worst-case scenario”
- You don’t qualify for income-based subsidies
Let’s look at another type of affordable option for this age range.
Apply for a Rider
In some states, you’re allowed to stay on your parent’s plan even after you turn 26. For most states where it is allowed, you have the ability to stay on your parent’s plan up to the end of the month that you turn 30.
You will have to apply for the rider after you turn 26 and before you turn 29, during Open Enrollment. To be eligible, you usually have to be under 29 years old, not married, and not eligible for health insurance through an employer.
You can check on your state’s laws at the website for the National Conference of State Legislatures.
After you turn 30, although you can no longer stay on your parent’s health care plan, you still have a number of options at your disposal. If you have a full-time job, check with your company to see if they offer health benefits.
Health insurance that is employer-sponsor is regulated by the state. So this means that companies with at least 50 employees are required to offer health benefits.
A lot of companies will chip in to pay some of your monthly premium costs. And others will even cover the total amount. Either way, it’s still your responsibility to pay your coinsurance and copayments, deductible, and other related costs until you reach your out-of-pocket limit.
Purchase Your Own Plan Through an Insurance Marketplace
Don’t have a full-time job that offers health benefits? Or do you not like what they have to offer? Then consider purchasing your own plan through an insurance marketplace.
You can either visit your state’s marketplace or Healthcare.gov to see which health insurance plans are available. After reviewing your financial information, these marketplaces can let you if you qualify for government subsidies.
Qualifying for government subsidies can help you greatly reduce the cost of your monthly premium as well as other health care costs.
Purchase Your Own Plan Through a Health Insurance Company
If you don’t qualify for government subsidies, it may be in your best interest to buy insurance directly through a broker or health insurance company. By the way, a broker is a licensed insurance agent.
If you buy a plan directly from one of these private parties, you won’t be able to get any financial aid or subsidies, even if you’re eligible for it. Because of this, it’s important that you weigh the costs and benefits you’re able to get.
Enroll in Medicaid
Depending on how much you make in income, you may be eligible to receive Medicaid. Medicaid is a public health insurance program that offers coverage to low-income individuals and families. The program covers hospital stays, custodial care, doctor visits, long-term medical care, and other related expenses.
If you’re eligible for Medicaid, you’ll get reduced rates for your monthly premium as well as for other healthcare costs. Although you sometimes have to enroll directly with Medicaid, you can usually sign up through your state’s marketplace.
The coverage for Medicaid is broken down into four different groups:
- People with disabilities
- Adults aged 65 or older
- Adults under the age of 65
Children make up the largest group for Medicaid but at a lower cost. People with disabilities are the smallest group but happen to cost the most.
Your eligibility is going to be determined by your income in relation to the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). In general, if you are either elderly, a child, disabled, or pregnant and your income is less than 200% of the FPL, there will be a program for you.
Enroll in Medicare
When people think of Medicare, they tend to assume that they have to be at least 65 years old in order to receive it. This notion, however, is incorrect.
If you are under 65 years old and have received Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments for at least two years, you’re eligible for Medicare. After the 24th month of receiving your SSDI check, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare.
If you happen to be collecting SSDI payments because you have ALS, then you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare starting the first month you receive the check. It is the Social Security Administration, not Medicare, that decides if you qualify for SSDI payments.
If you’re interested in enrolling in Medicare, it’s important that you compare Medicare Advantage plans.
The Importance of Knowing How to Get Good Health Insurance
By knowing how to get good health insurance, you’ll be able to take control of your own health. Not knowing how insurance works can make your life difficult when you start scrambling for any sort of coverage. But after reading the above, you should be ready to reach the next milestone in successful adulting.
Just make sure to review all of your options thoroughly so that you can pick the plan that best suits your health insurance needs.
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