Are you 25 years old? Have you been covered as a dependent on a parent’s health insurance plan since The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — also known as the Affordable Care Act — extended health care coverage for young adults in September 2010? What plans have you or your parents made for your loss of medical insurance coverage on your 26th birthday? Don’t assume that you are immune from accidental injuries and illnesses.
Regardless of your youth and general health, an accident or illness could be devastating to your future health, recovery, finances, and opportunities. Now is the time to obtain a short-term medical insurance policy to protect your health and future until you qualify for your own employer-sponsored health plan.
Before the Affordable Care Act went into effect in 2010, insurance companies could legally refuse to insure dependent children when they reached age 19. Some carriers continued to cover dependent young adults until age 24 if they were enrolled in a college or university. Because of such practices, the Department of Health & Human Services records indicate that one third of young adults under age 26 were entirely unprotected by health insurance.
But while the Affordable Care Act can help families provide health insurance coverage for young adults, it’s not a guarantee: adults with parents who have retired or aren’t employed full-time may not be able to add their children to their insurance plans. It’s also possible that the cost of adding adult children to an insurance plan could be cost-prohibitive. This can make short-term medical insurance a viable alternative for young adults who need health insurance coverage.
Busy with classes and completing your education, working hard at your first real job or busy beginning a family, you may not even be aware that your insurance coverage continues under your parents’ plan. That’s because the law allowed you to remain on parental policies even if you’re married, living completely on your own, attending college, paying all your own bills or even working at a job that provides health insurance that you’ve chosen not to yet participate in.
Unfortunately, youth isn’t a guarantee of immunity from injury or illness. You may be less likely to develop certain diseases, but your age can put you at higher risk of some kinds of accidental injuries. As your parents know, medical expenses can be expensive without medical insurance coverage. At your age, and as you’re just beginning to establish your own home, life and career, it’s often easy to justify skipping medical insurance because of the expense or procrastinate calling a company for rates and information. But course of action could derail your plans. Here are just a few reasons you should make sure you maintain coverage.
|Medical Treatment||A simple doctor office visit or an inpatient hospitalization can be too expensive for most individuals.|
|Non-payment of Medical Expenses||Can result in future credit issues including bankruptcies, court judgments, garnished wages, and reported late payments to credit agencies. These negative marks on your credit record can prevent you from renting an apartment, opening a checking account, applying for a credit card, or being hired for certain types of jobs. A negative credit record can make it difficult to purchase a home or buy a car without paying significantly higher interest rates.|
|Other Options||Options for medical care, such as free clinics, may be limited. Waiting lists for care can be much longer than traditional medical facilities. Also, some may require that you income falls below federal poverty levels.|
HCC Medical Insurance Services offers you a solution: Short Term Medical insurance. Available for a period of one to 11 months (depending upon the state in which you reside), you can purchase a plan to protect you in the event that you need medical care, hospitalizations, emergency room visits, or surgery. Short Term Medical insurance cannot be “renewed” when the policy protection period ends. Depending on where you live, you may be able to reapply. As noted, it’s a stopgap policy designed to protect you between losing coverage on your parents’ plan and arranging for your own long-term policy.