Tips to help find health insurance for college graduates

As you celebrate your child’s college graduation and look to the future, many questions may arise. One that could get lost in the mix of parties and life planning: What are the new graduate’s health insurance needs?

While it might be the last thing you ask yourself, it can be one of the most significant. Adults ages 19 to 34 have the highest uninsured rates of any age group in the U.S. — and that may put them at risk. One unexpected accident or illness could have long-lasting health and financial impacts.

“Choosing the right health coverage may seem difficult to young people, as many have never shopped for their own health insurance,” said Mark Smith, president of HealthMarkets Insurance Agency. “Fortunately, there is a wide range of coverage options available to a family working to meet a graduate’s unique care needs and financial situation.”

Consider these three tips to help make sure your graduate is covered

1. Know when current coverage ends

Many colleges and universities require undergraduate and graduate students to have health care coverage while enrolled. If your student chose an insurance option through their school, it’s important to know the coverage’s expiration date, as it can vary by plan.

2. Know where to go for support

You and your graduate can find helpful information through health care marketplaces, insurance carriers, insurance brokers and other licensed agents. For example, GetCovered, powered by HealthMarkets, provides guidance for graduates in need of health care coverage — by phone at 877-270-0029 / TTY 711 or online at

3. Have answers to starter questions

To find the right insurance for your graduate, it’s helpful to have responses for some common questions:

  • When does the graduate’s current coverage end?
  • Is coverage possible under the family’s plan through the Age-26 rule?
  • What benefits does the graduate need or want?
  • What portion of the graduate’s monthly budget can go to health insurance?

“Whether your family chooses to do its own research and enrollment or take advantage of other available resources, determining what your graduate may need and can afford will help you find good coverage that ensures your child has access to care,” Mark said.

Coverage options: Young adults may be eligible for certain plans, based on their specific financial situation. If coverage under the Age-26 rule is not available, consider these ideas:

  • Medicaid – Medicaid eligibility is based on income, disability and other circumstances.
  • Individual exchange/marketplace plans – These Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans are available through federal or state enrollment sites. Graduation is a “qualifying life event” to enroll in an ACA plan outside the annual open enrollment period.
  • Short-term plans – Short-term, limited-duration insurance plans provide temporary coverage to bridge a gap to longer-term insurance. These plans have a fixed duration and offer levels of coverage that are different from ACA plans.

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