Your First Health Insurance--Young Adults and Health Care Coverage

By Meredith Ledford on January 6th, 2010

Health Insurance

If you are between the ages of 19 and 29, you are more likely to be uninsured than any other age demographic. In 2009, 45% of young adults in this age group, or an estimated 20.5 million people, were without health insurance for some time during the past year.

Why Are Young Adults More Likely To Be Uninsured?

When you graduate from high school, go on to college, or enter the workforce, circumstances out of your control could cause you lose health coverage. Here are some ways young adults often lose medical benefits:

  • Lose Coverage Through Parents' Plan: Your parents' health insurance may continue to cover your health care needs as long as you go to college--many plans require that you go to college full-time. Your coverage through your parents' health insurance may end if you take a year off, enter the workforce or the military
  • Too-old for Public Coverage: Medicaid covers parents and their children (and some disabled and elderly). The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) covers children whose parents make too much money for Medicaid, but can't afford private insurance. A key to qualifying for either public health insurance program is that you have to be under 19 years of age
  • Low-paying Jobs May Mean No Benefits: As you enter the workforce, you may be shocked by sum of your starting salary, especially in this economy, but you may also find that your job does not offer health insurance. If your new job does offer employer-based coverage, there may be a waiting period before you qualify

Finding Health Insurance on Your Own

Making the transition from childhood to adulthood is difficult enough without adding the extra burden of finding health insurance, but there are tools you can use to find affordable health insurance. Be sure to get a free insurance quote from multiple health insurance plans.

Plus, health insurance reform may make easier for you to find affordable health insurance. The health reform bill currently being considered in Congress may help you find affordable health coverage.

The bill may require insurers and employers to allow you to remain on your parents' plans up to age 26 or 27 years of age regardless of enrollment into college. Medicaid eligibility may be expanded, so that adulthood doesn't mean an end to coverage. Another important change may be de-linking the constrictive link to your job and health insurance--allowing you and your employer to purchase affordable coverage through a health insurance exchange.

Be sure to research your first health insurance options and compare quotes here.


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