My sons were dropped from my healthcare policy the month of their graduation from college, while other graduates have until their 25th birthdays before they’re on their own, insurance wise. Fortunately, my sons landed jobs by the time they graduated (those were the good old days–two and three years ago).
With the uncertain lag time before many grads land insurance-covered jobs, there is alarming growth in the number of uninsured. Many others who pursue part-time or freelance jobs find themselves in similar insurance purgatory. Those in this situation should not believe they’re invincible and, therefore, think they can do without healthcare coverage. A young friend recently was diagnosed with a form of cancer that requires eight treatments of chemotherapy and frequent doctor visits. Thankfully, he is covered by insurance obtained through his company. Otherwise, he would be incurring hundreds of thousands of dollars of additional debt.
There are ways to get coverage at more reasonable rates than will be quoted if you contact an insurer directly or pick up temporary COBRA coverage from parents’ policies. The New York Times’ Lesley Alderman wrote a story that is an invaluable insurance coverage resource.
I am particularly impressed with MediaBistro, which offers coverage through a group plan in New York and discounted plans in other states. There is a $55 annual membership fee. Freelancers Union is a free membership organization that provides access to group healthcare.
Before deciding on a healthcare policy, you can compare policies from 180 insurance providers at ehealthinsurance.com. This easy-to-use site simply asks for your zip code, gender, birth date and then quickly displays quotes so you can compare coverage and costs. I tested the service and was offered four excellent, reasonably priced plans from BlueCross/BlueShield, Aetna, United Healthcare and UniCare.