College students have special medical resources in case of an unexpected misfortune or accident. The availability of Lafene Health Center, as well as the ability to be on parents’ insurance, can help students stay safe and receive medical care. Once students graduate from college, however, most students are left on their own to find health insurance. While a dream job may be graduates’ main concern, it is important to consider health insurance plans for after graduation.
According to a CNN article by Elizabeth Cohen, studies have shown that 34 percent of college graduates go some time after college uninsured. Two thirds of those uninsured young adults don’t purchase health insurance due to the high cost.
Another reason may be that health insurance is not a top priority for many students. Alex Anderson, senior in marketing, said that insurance is not on his mind right now.
“I know some day I am going to have to think about getting my own health insurance plan, but I am not really thinking about that right now,” Anderson said.
One problem many graduates may face is a lack of knowledge about health care options.
The Affordable Care Act was enacted in March of 2010, and is referred to as the “health care reform act.” The law attempts to fix issues in the current American health care system such the cost and quality of care and gaps in insurance coverage. The law required several changes to be put into place in the first six months after it was passed. Other parts of the ACA do not go into effect until Jan. 1, 2014 or after.
If available, graduates can choose employer-based health insurance. This what Cole Pearson, senior in agriculture business, plans on using.
“After graduation, I can only hope that my job will provide me with a great health care plan,” Pearson said.
Individually purchased health insurance is another option. According to ehealthinsurance.com, a young female graduate interested in Blue Cross and Blue Shield can anticipate spending $116.24 per month with the AffordaBlu Plan 1. That includes a $2,500 deductible and $20 doctor visits.
A third option is to remain on parents’ health insurance for several years, which is a relatively new policy. The health care reform act allows adult children to retain coverage under their parents’ health insurance policy until age 26.
“One of the good things Obama has done for our country is allowing kids to be on their parent’s health care plans until the age of 26,” Anderson said.
For students looking for a short-term fix, short term health insurance plans are also available. These plans work if students plan to have employer-based health insurance within six months and the plans only cover basic emergencies.
Another change to the current health insurance system will be the creation of health insurance exchanges. An insurance exchange will be an online marketplace where consumers can go to find out about health insurance plans available in their area. They will also be able to compare the costs and benefits of those plans.
With so many options and choices, Jenny Yuen, health educator at Lafene, is concerned for the future of new graduates and health insurance.
“I personally will have concerns in the future, because I do not know enough about it,” Yuen said. “I think a lot of people are confused about what the regulations actually are going to be, come 2014.”
The future may be unclear, but there is help available, said Jana Bowman, director of public relations at Mercy Regional Hospital.
“A pro about health care is that you just never know what is going to happen.” Bowman said. “With or without it, hospitals can help you either way. A lot of medical providers can talk you through payment plans if you are without a health insurance plan.”