Top Five Health Insurance Tips for College Grads



College graduation is often a time to leave the nest, but is it also a time to leave mom and dad’s health insurance plan? 

Here are few things to consider: 

  • Mom and Dad’s health plan isn’t always the best option. In most cases, you can stay on your parents’ health insurance plan until you turn 26. But that doesn’t always mean Mom and Dad’s plan is your best choice. If you live in another state or coverage area, for example, you may not have access to doctors and hospitals in your plan network, meaning you (or your parent) could end up paying more out of pocket for your medical care than necessary. 
  • You may qualify for subsidized premiums under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). ACA plans provide comprehensive coverage and are offered by brand-name insurers nationwide. If you earn less than 400% of the federal poverty level (about $60,000 in 2024), you may qualify for government subsidies to make your coverage more affordable. In fact, many people who sign up for ACA plans pay no monthly premiums at all. People earning less than 250% of the federal poverty level may also get reduced deductibles and copays. 
  • Consider an HSA-eligible health plan if your new employer offers one. HSAs (health savings accounts) allow you to save money on a tax-free basis for a broad range of future medical expenses. Monthly premiums for HSA-eligible plans can be lower, and employers often make donations to your HSA for you. HSA-eligible plans may be a good fit for you if you rarely visit the doctor and don’t often take prescription drugs. 
  • Be aware of the limitations of short-term health insurance plans. Are you planning to take a break between college and career? It might be tempting to enroll in a short-term health insurance plan. Short-term plans can provide you with financial protection from unexpected costs, but the coverage they offer is limited. You may have significant out-of-pocket costs and your coverage may not include benefits for preventative care or prescription drugs.  
  • You can get free personal advice from a licensed health insurance agent. If you’re unsure which health insurance options might be the best match for your personal needs and budget, work with a licensed agent. There’s no extra charge when you work through a licensed health insurance agent and many offer plans from competing insurers.”