Whatever coverage you have now, you will be responsible for your own health insurance when you turn 26. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) allows young adults to remain on their parents’ health insurance until they turn 26.
If you have just turned 26 you MUST act now to purchase a health insurance plan, or to ensure that you are included in your employer’s (or another authorized) group plan. You have 60 days from your birthdate to enroll without the risks of non-coverage.
Let’s look at your choices:
Before you do anything, you must be clear about how your current coverage is funded and if the terms of coverage suit your personal circumstances.
- Parent’s policy
- Family plan
- Group (employer) plan*
- Spouse’s policy
- Family Plan
- Group (employer) plan*
You may of course already be insured in your own right either as an individual or as part of a group (employer) scheme. In either case ‘open enrollment’ (Nov 1st -December 15th) is an opportunity for you to consider your options. Contact your State or preferred private health insurance exchange
*If you are insured though a group (employer)plan you should clarify the terms of ‘aging out’. Some policies end your coverage at the end of the month in which you turn 26, some at the end of the year in which you turn 26.
To insure or not to insure?
Very few people will advise you NOT to insure. The questions are How great is the risk? How much will coverage cost? Am I entitled to Federal or State support?
When we are young most of us feel healthy and to be honest, have belief that, IT WON’T’ HAPPEN TO ME.!
The fact remains that one in six young adults has a chronic illness, diagnosed or not, for example, Asthma, Cancer or Diabetes. (Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight) You may be young and healthy today, but accidents and severe illnesses come without warning. Be wise and plan for the unexpected.
It is a ‘no brainer’.
NOW TO CONSIDER THE BEST AFFORDABLE VALUE FOR YOU
When you are within 60 days of your 26th birthday you have an ‘open window’ to choose the approach to health insurance that suits your circumstances. The window stays open until 60 days after your birthday. Don’t leave it to the last moment.
If you do not select any coverage within your special enrollment period (SEP) you will be entirely responsible for your medical and care expenses.
- Insurers cannot reject you on the basis of a pre-existing condition
- Like over 80% of US citizens you will probably qualify for Federal or State subsidies.
The best sources of advice are Federal, State or Private Health Insurance Exchanges.
- If your employer has a company plan this should be your first choice
- You can extend the cover you had under your parent’s company health insurance policy. This option is known as COBRA (limited to 36 months). Typically, this is an expensive option as the employer will no longer be responsible for a share of the premium. But for a limited period, may be the right choice.
- If you are married and your spouse is a member of a company health insurance plan you can join (his/her) health plan. This is especially valuable if your own employer does not have a company health plan.
- It is always an option during ‘0pen enrollment’ or your personal ‘special enrollment period’ to shop for an individual health insurance plan. If you are entitled to subsidies make sure you enroll through the Marketplace. (Special Enrollment Period for ACA)
- The lowest premium cost (monthly payment) which secures continuity of your coverage and the Preventative Services guaranteed by the ACA is a ‘catastrophic’ plan.
These plans are available up to the age of 30. The premium is low but you can expect to pay ‘out of pocket’ until your deductible is met.
UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE
Be sure to have THREE plans from which to choose especially if you are shopping for a personal insurance plan.
Use the market place to find YOUR BEST PLAN and secure the subsidies to which you are entitled.
Talk to our insurance expert to know about the health insurance options available fro you.
Photo by Stefan Stefancik from Pexels