Your twenties can be a whirlwind of puzzling emotions and exciting milestones. On top of searching for a sense of self, many in their mid-twenties are graduating college, entering the job market, starting and ending relationships…the list goes on. To add to it, many Americans dread turning 26 because they lose access to their parents’ affordable health insurance.
Besides navigating the classic struggles that come with adulting, you get booted from your parents’ health insurance in your mid-twenties. What’s up with that?
If you are one of the millions of Americans who is looking for affordable health insurance, here’s what you need to know.
The Basics You Need To Know
The ins-and-outs of health insurance can be worrisome, but don’t start panicking just yet.
If your parents have insurance under Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act, you’ll have until Dec. 31st of the year you turn 26 before you need to find new health insurance.
If your parents are covered by their employer, you’ll be able to stay on their health insurance plan until the end of your birth month. Then, you’ll have a 60-day grace period outside of open enrollment to find a new plan.
There are many different ways you can acquire new health plans. Some turn to employer-sponsored health insurance plans, while others opt for Medicaid, private insurance exchanges, or shopping on the Healthcare Marketplace. Despite all the options, many young adults lose sleep over the dreaded day when the system officially kicks them out of the nest.
Unfortunately, that day will inevitably roll around. What if you don’t have a job that provides health insurance? How do you know which plan is the right one? What even is the Health Insurance Marketplace?
Read on for the answers to some of your looming questions. That way, you can find affordable health insurance in a snap.
Browse the health insurance marketplace
Some 26 year-olds will have health insurance through their employer. Most people prefer these plans. Employers will usually split premium costs with you, saving you money. Also, they will do all the heavy lifting involved with shopping for health insurance plans. So if this option is available to you, take it!
If you can’t secure health insurance from your employer, you can shop for federal government-sponsored insurance. There is a wide array of different health insurance options so you can weigh the pros and cons of each one.
Besides employer-sponsored and federal-government-sponsored options, you can pursue private insurance. If you go through a private exchange, you’ll purchase your health insurance in the same way you shop online, except the process is more customizable and direct. You can browse through a wide selection of plans to ensure you pick one tailored to your lifestyle.
Utilizing a private exchange comes with the added benefit of customizing your plan. You can add things such as a gym membership or smoking cessation equipment. These bells and whistles are beneficial for young people hoping to only pay for what’s necessary. The easiest way to find reliable private insurance exchanges is by simply Googling “health insurance I can afford.”
eHealth Can Help
However, shopping for health insurance can be a completely overwhelming process. Luckily, there are resources like eHealth to make it easier.
This site has the best online selection of health insurance options, with over 10,000 plans from 180 companies. On top of that, they have 24/7 support to get all your questions answered.
The best thing about eHealth is that they’re more than just a database of insurance plans. They are your health insurance advocate, ready to step in and deal with the companies on your behalf and making sure your plan is the best fit for you.
We bet you never imagined health insurance could be this simple!
Qualified vs. non-qualified plans
Qualified health insurance plans are approved by the federal government and meet all the qualifications of the ACA. These plans are ideal for those who schedule doctor’s appointments multiple times a year, take life-saving prescription drugs, or with spouses or dependents in need of coverage.
It’s vital to note that non-qualified plans are not ACA-compliant, meaning that they don’t cover all the essential health benefits. However, these plans are best suited for those individuals who rarely visit their primary care physician, don’t regularly take prescribed medications, and are generally healthy. Non-qualified plans are usually much cheaper and only cover emergencies or essential services.
Compare, compare, compare
To no surprise, there are several factors to consider when shopping for health insurance. After you’ve determined which marketplace is the best fit, make sure to compare types of insurance plans, health plan networks, out-of-pocket costs, and benefits.
Remember, the best plan for someone you know may not be the best plan for you. Your unique circumstances could alter the healthcare plan you need, so be cautious when drafting your pros and cons list. Without thorough research, you may inadvertently forfeit your hard-earned cash to health insurance providers unnecessarily.
This is where eHealth comes in again. With their expansive database of health insurance plans, you can compare different options available to you. Whether you find the right choice for you independently or you need support from one of their licensed health insurance agents, you are sure to find it on eHealth.
As more millennials need to find their own health insurance, it is more apparent that what worked for our parents and grandparents will not necessarily do the trick for this incoming generation.
Throughout the process, remember that health insurance is not only necessary in the event of an emergency. You also need it to make preventative care more affordable. A bonus of comprehensive health insurance coverage is that this purchase will bring you one step closer to becoming a self-sufficient adult.