I'm in transition between health insurance plans

Here's how people are making health reform work for them. Could one of these approaches work for you or someone you know? Learn how to put these ideas into action.

If you're like Jin, you're going to be too old to stay on your parents' plan and you'll need to get your own plan. But first, make sure you're too old. Under health reform, you can stay on your parent's plan until age 26, even if you have graduated from college. Some state laws require coverage beyond age 26. Be sure to check the law in your state.

If you are nearing age 26, and you don't have a job that offers health insurance, you can buy a plan through the Individual Marketplace in your state.

If you're turning 65, you can sign up for a Medicare plan. Medicare Parts A and B are considered Original Medicare. Part A pays for hospital care and Part B pays for doctor visits and other outpatient care. Be aware that Original Medicare doesn't cover everything. It helps you get health care coverage, but you should expect to pay some of the costs. You can enroll in a Medicare supplement insurance plan to help pay for costs and benefits that aren't paid by Original Medicare Parts A and B. For example, you can enroll in a stand-alone Medicare Part D plan for help with prescription drug costs. Or, you might consider a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan, a Medicare Advantage plan, or your employer's retiree health insurance plan. You can enroll in Medicare during the three months before the month you turn 65, the month ofyour birthday and three months after. If you wait to enroll in a plan after this time, you may have to pay more.

If you're working past age 65, the rules are different. If your company has 20 employees or more, you can generally stay on your employer's plan. But be sure to enroll in Part B within eight months after you retire, or you may have to pay a penalty. If you work for a company with fewer than 20 employees, your employer's plan will provide only supplemental coverage after you're eligible for Medicare, so it's important to enroll in Part B as you near age 65.

If you don't have health insurance because you couldn't get coverage or you were charged extra because of a health condition, there's good news. Health reform means you can get the same plan as someone else without a health condition. Your application can't be denied because of your condition, and you can't be charged more because of it. And if you develop a serious condition while you have a plan, your coverage can't be cancelled because of the condition.

This applies whether you get your health insurance through your employer (within or outside of the SHOP Marketplace), through the Individual Marketplace, or directly from a health insurance company.