Eight Health Insurance Tips for College Graduates
eHealthInsurance Outlines Smart Buying Decisions for College Graduates Without Full-Time Employment and Employer-Paid Health Insurance
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 05/04/09 -- Employers anticipate hiring 22 percentfewer new college graduates from the class of 2009 than they hired from theclass of 2008, according to the National Association of Colleges andEmployers(1), which is why eHealthInsurance, today, released eight tips forcollege graduates that have yet to secure full-time employment and are inneed of affordable healthinsurance.
While students under 25 years of age are often covered through theirparents' health insurance plan or a university plan, many carriers will notallow dependent children over 18 to stay on parents' plans after theygraduate. In 2007, the Census Bureau estimated that there were nearly 8million uninsured young adults (ages 18-24), making them the largestsegment of the uninsured population. That problem is likely to becompounded with the rise in unemployment and lack of new jobs resultingfrom the current economic recession.
1. Get the low-down on your hometown: If you live in Massachusetts, NewYork, New Jersey, Maine, or Vermont then you live in a "Guaranteed Issue"state, which means that you can't be denied medical coverage forpre-existing health conditions. Go online, search for the best plan you canfind and buy. If you don't live in a "Guaranteed Issue" state then you needto be aware of how any pre-existing health conditions you have could affectyour ability to qualify for coverage. Remember that health insurance isregulated and sold on a state level. If you are moving to another stateafter graduating, you'll need to buy health insurance in that state. Youcan talk to an agent licensed in your state by calling eHealthInsurancetoll free: 1-800-977-8860.
2. Learn the lingo: If you're relatively healthy you may be able to findmore affordable plans in the individual health insurance market that providecomparable coverage to what you got through your parents or at yourUniversity. But, you need to get educated (no tests this time) before youstart to shop around. Take the time to understand the terminology in theindividual health insurance market. Terms you'll need to understand if yougo shopping for your own plan include: Co-Payments, Coinsurance,Out-of-pocket limit, and Lifetime maximum. (You can find definitions ofthese and other terms at eHealthInsurance.com.)
3. Talk to an agent: If you have a pre-existing health condition, it's agood idea to talk to a licensed agent in your state that can help youfigure out whether or not your pre-existing health problems would excludeyou from qualifying for an individual policy in your state. You can talk toan agent licensed in your state by calling eHealthInsurance toll free:1-800-977-8860. It's also a good idea to talk to your doctor about anypre-existing conditions you might have. Try to get a sense of how much careyou might require and how much coverage you might need.
4. Shop 'til you drop: One of the best places to search for policies iswith an online broker. By going to the web you're likely to find thelargest number of plans available. By law, every broker must sell policiesat the same price, so you can't find a better deal by switching brokers.eHealthInsurance.com is the largest online broker in the United States.eHealth is licensed to sell insurance in all 50 states and the District ofColumbia and it has more than 10,000 policies available from over 180carriers.
5. Maintain your independence: If you're thinking that you'll change jobsfrequently, or that you're more likely to freelance and work independently,why tie your health insurance to your job? It might make more sense to getan individual health insurance plan that will stay with you regardless ofwhere your career takes you. Then, if a prospective employer offers youhealth insurance benefits, you can decline their coverage and negotiate ahigher salary. According to J.D. Power and Associates' 2009 NationalHealth Insurance Plan Study(SM), people with private health insurance weremore satisfied with their plans than those with insurance from a smallemployer (50 or fewer employees). Before you switch, ask prospectiveco-workers if they like the group plan. If it's not better, and it's notcheaper, why change?
6. You can never be too safe: Be careful to protect your privateinformation. Some online brokers simply aggregate leads and send them tolive brokers who may call you directly. To avoid excessive telemarketingcalls, control the process by using an online broker likeeHealthInsurance.com that doesn't sell your private information to otherbrokers and lets you to search for quotes anonymously. If you have anyquestions that you can't answer on your own, eHealthInsurance.com also hasa call center staffed by licensed agents that don't make bigger commissionsby selling you more expensive plans. You'll get straightforward, unbiasedadvice from an agent licensed in your state.
7. Practice safe selection (of policies): It's particularly important forsingle women to know that private health insurance plans don'tautomatically cover maternity benefits. That can be great news if you'relooking to save money, and you don't want to (or plan to) have kids whileyou're on this plan. But, if you are planning to get pregnant, or you thinkthere's a chance you could get pregnant, be sure to buy a plan that coversmaternity care. If you can't find a plan with maternity coverage, you mayneed to explore purchasing something called a maternity rider, which is asupplement to an existing health insurance policy that covers maternitybenefits. You may also want to explore free, state-level programs bycontacting eHealthInsurance.com's customer care center at 1-800-977-8860,or the Foundation for Health Coverage Education at www.Coverageforall.org
8. Not ready for a long-term commitment? Have a fling: If you know you'llhave a job within a few months after graduation, short-term healthinsurance plans may be a good option for you. Short-term health insurancetypically lasts for six months, has less stringent qualifications and canbe a great way to prevent a health insurance gap before you start that newjob. Note that these are not a good long-term solution: short-term plansare more limited in benefits and can often only be renewed once.
About eHealth, Inc.:
eHealth, Inc. (NASDAQ: EHTH) is the parent company of eHealthInsurance, thenation's leading online source of health insurance for individuals,families and small businesses. Through the company's website,http://www.ehealthinsurance.com, consumers can get quotes from leadinghealth insurance carriers, compare plans side by side, and apply for andpurchase health insurance. eHealthInsurance offers thousands of healthplans underwritten by more than 180 of the nation's health insurancecompanies. eHealthInsurance is licensed to sell health insurance in all 50states and the District of Columbia. eHealthInsurance and eHealth areregistered trademarks of eHealthInsurance Services, Inc.
(1) National Association of Colleges and Employers' (NACE) Job Outlook 2009Spring Update (http://www.naceweb.org/spotlight/2009/e030409a.htm)
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