Health Insurance A Big Decision For College Graduates
With college students graduating from schools across the nation, it's time for many of these students to make decisions concerning their health insurance coverage. If a student does not have a job that will provide health insurance there are several options available. When it comes to making such a decision on what health plan to choose it is important to understand all details pertaining to the perspective plan.
Students who have been carried under their parents' plan and drop below full-time status, graduate, or drop out have the option of choosing COBRA continuation-coverage. This option for health insurance can be expensive so it is also important to understand the grace period their parents' provider allows for. In most cases this grace period extends to the end of the month in which the student graduates or drops out.
Some college-sponsored plans carried at many institutions allow for students to remain on their plans for up to 90 days following graduation. This grace period can be helpful as graduates sure up jobs or find individual health insurance plans. Students continuing their education and working towards higher degrees usually have the option of continuing to stay on with their current plans.
It is important students act quickly during this time window following graduation for a number of reasons. Most importantly is the reason pertaining to HIPPA-eligibility. HIPPA, standing for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, guarantees one certain rights in coverage as long as they do not go 63 days or more without coverage. If a graduate were to go without coverage for more than this time a provider can refuse to cover pre-existing conditions for up to one year.
For example, if someone was taking Prevacid for acid reflux on a doctor's prescription, they would be forced to pay the full amount for that drug for up to one year. If their lapse in coverage is below the 63 days allotted this coverage cannot be denied. Understanding and respecting this HIPPA time-window can save lots of money in the long run.
Relatively healthy students looking to apply for individual health insurance plans can get cheaper plans offering minimal coverage. These plans with lower premiums often times provide little assistance for routine doctor visits or even for prescriptions. However, these plans do offer protection for individuals against catastrophic events such as a car accident or serious illness. Young adults with tight financial constraints are advised to at least consider such a plan in order to ward off crippling financial obligations in the event of a serious health event.
Therefore, as recent graduates take to the world and their health may be one of the last things on their mind, it is important to understand the realities of health insurance. Many young individuals starting their careers have little to spare towards big premiums. However, even an essentials-only plan can reap big rewards in the event of an unforeseen accident or illness. Students should keep in mind that such an event could have them paying for the rest of their lives if there is no coverage present. Health insurance options following college, while a complex and mundane decision, is one of the most important decisions a new graduate will make.