Staying on Your Parents’ Insurance

As you are preparing to graduate college, there is undoubtedly a lot on your mind. One thing you might have forgotten about, however, is making sure you stay insured after you graduate. You may not be aware of this, but until the Affordable Care Act, many insurance policies only covered children until they graduated college. Some plans even stopped covering children when they turned 19. In fact, dependent health care coverage of college students only covered those attending school on a full-time basis.

Passed in 2010, the Affordable Care Act is designed to make sure everyone can stay insured. Whether it is through staying on parents’ insurance or by making sure everyone has access to affordable health insurance, the Act provides something you need: medical coverage. You probably have never really had to think about your insurance or where it comes from, but as you go out and live on your own, you need to make sure you have dependable coverage. Medical insurance might seem like something you don’t need, but everyone needs to stay covered. As you enter this transitional period of your life—whether looking for a new job or simply waiting for the benefits that come with your new job to start—you need to find an insurance solution that will keep you covered.

The Affordable Care Act

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Signed into law on March 23, 2010, the Affordable Care Act, as mentioned above, is designed to make sure everyone in the United States has access to affordable healthcare. The law came with many reforms to current health insurance standards and practices. It is important to note that many of these reforms have rolled out slowly and will become effective over the next few years. This means you will have to stay informed so you can make the most of changes to healthcare. In the meantime, here are some of the big changes that have already happened under the Affordable Care Act.

  • One of the first things the Act provided was a tax credit made available to small businesses in order to help pay for and offset the cost of providing health benefits to employees.
  • The federal government will provide more assistance to states when it comes to Medicaid and the funding it takes to run the healthcare assistance program. This additional funding means that states are able to provide more coverage to more people.
  • New resources have already and will continue to be devoted to cracking down on health insurance fraud. These efforts are aimed to reduce the chance of fraud and waste within government-sponsored health care options. By doing so, the government will be able to save money and use those savings to help people who really need it.
  • In 2010, a national program began that was designed to keep those with pre-existing conditions covered. The Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan was designed to provide insurance for those that have been without insurance for at least six months because of a pre-existing condition. For those who have a pre-existing condition and are still in school or getting ready to graduate, this means you can stay on your parents’ plan or find an insurance solution that meets your needs.
  • Under the Affordable Care Act, children may now remain on their parents’ insurance plan until the age of 26.
  • Another big reform that has already taken place and applies to young adults is that you now have guaranteed access to preventive care. Depending on you and your health situation, this could mean a lot of different things. To learn more, make sure you read about the preventive care now offered.
  • The Act also ensures that an insurance company cannot rescind your coverage based on a technical mistake you made. Unfortunately, in the past, insurance companies would do this in order to avoid paying your medical bills.
  • For those that are not going to stay on their parents’ insurance plan, the new law allows states to apply for federal grants in order to set up independent offices that will help consumers as they try to find a health insurance plan.

Changes to the Act in 2013

While many of the reforms brought about by the Affordable Care Act have already taken place, some of them have only just gone into effect or have yet to take effect. Some of the most important and most helpful have just recently happened or are going to happen later this year. Here are some of the things to expect in 2013.

  • While preventive care became free in 2010, in 2013 the program was expanded, and new funding was provided to state Medicaid programs.
  • Perhaps the biggest change still to happen in 2013 is the open enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace. The Marketplace service is a place for small businesses and individuals to find competitive insurance plans easily. You will be able to browse among many kinds of insurance plans priced to fit all kinds of budgets. This format will also simplify the insurance-finding process, making it easier for you and less tedious.

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Changes to the Act in 2014

As mentioned earlier, not every facet of the Affordable Care Act went immediately into effect. There is a timeline for each change, and 2014 will see more parts of the Affordable Care Act go into effect. Let’s look ahead so you can plan out your health insurance for the year to come. Here are some of the more important reforms that may affect you and your health.

  • In 2014, the Health Insurance Marketplace will actually open, and you will be able to start using the Marketplace to find your insurance much more easily than in the past.
  • Starting in 2014, most individuals who can afford to pay for health insurance will be required to purchase a policy, even if it is just a basic plan. If individuals decide not to purchase a policy, they may be required to pay a fee in order to help cover the cost of keeping other Americans insured.
  • Individuals who decide to enroll in clinical trials to try and help improve their health will still be able to be insured. Insurance companies will not be allowed to drop individuals who are participating in trials to treat life-threatening diseases.

Short-Term Medical Insurance

While the Affordable Care Act certainly does provide more, and in some cases better, coverage for individuals, it may not necessarily be the only solution for you. Instead of relying on your parents’ insurance after you graduate, there is an alternative solution: short-term medical insurance. Health insurance after 26 can be affordable and still offer you the coverage you need. While the Affordable Care Act is designed to help provide you with coverage, you might also want to consider purchasing a short-term medical insurance plan. Before you decide on a course of action, here are some benefits of short-term medical insurance that you may want to consider.

Flexibility: One of the most beneficial things about a short-term medical insurance policy is its flexibility. You have choices about the duration of your coverage, what kind of coverage you want, and what doctors you want to see. Keep in mind as you are searching for the right short-term medical insurance policy that the higher your maximum and the more coverage you have, the higher your monthly premium is going to be.

Independence: For those who are not yet 26 and can still be covered on their parents’ insurance plan, having a short-term medical insurance plan may be less expensive than your parents’ plan. Depending upon your situation, this might be a great alternative.

Coverage for Graduate School: Many graduate schools offer their students medical insurance coverage, but often these plans are not comprehensive, or they are not cost-effective. An alternative to these plans would be to purchase a short-term medical insurance policy that can keep you covered while you are in graduate school.

Affordable: Typically speaking, most short-term medical insurance plans are more affordable than full medical insurance plans. If you find that you are no longer covered on your parents’ plan, are not covered by an employer, or are in school and you need insurance, then a short-term medical plan may be the best option for you. Not only will you receive the coverage you need, but you will also be able to keep your insurance within your budget.

The Affordable Care Act has made it possible for more people to access healthcare, which will lead to healthier and more productive citizens. Because the Affordable Care Act seeks to enact many reforms, not every facet went into effect immediately. Stay up to date to learn what other reforms will happen in the years to come. If you are about to graduate or if you are a recent graduate and are under the age of 26, you now have the option to remain on your parents’ insurance plan. However, if this is not an option for you, you need to look into alternate sources of coverage. Consider supplementing the healthcare you can receive under the Affordable Care Act with a short-term medical insurance plan.

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