Why Health Insurance is Important and What Options You Have
As a recent graduate or someone early in your career, the responsibilities of adulting can feel overwhelming, making it hard to prioritize what’s important.
The decisions you make now about your health can impact the rest of your life. You may skip annual health checkups and ignore minor health problems, but that can get worse and more expensive to treat over time.
While you may not have any health issues today, your health can take an unexpected turn quickly. According to the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Health of America Report, a major decline in health begins at age 27.
Hopefully, I’ve done my job and convinced you that purchasing health insurance is a smart choice. So now I’ll walk you through your options.
22-25 years old
- Coverage through your student health plan — Many colleges offer student health plans. It can be an easy and affordable way to get basic health insurance coverage. Many times, it’s part of your tuition.
- Coverage under your parent’s plan – If your parents have insurance, you may be able to stay on their policy until you turn 26 years old.
26 years old and older
- Medicaid — If you meet the eligibility requirements, including the income limits, you may qualify for Medicaid. This is a free or low-cost health insurance option through the U.S. Government.
- Catastrophic plans — These plans provide coverage protecting you from major health issues. Because of the limited coverage, your monthly premium is lower, and you have a high deductible.
- Marketplace Plans– You can shop for Marketplace plans where you may qualify for tax credits or other savings.
- Blue Cross NC Individual Plans– Many of our plans offer coverage statewide, preventive services paid at 100%, and online tools to find doctors and compare health care costs.
Health insurance through your employer
If you work for an employer who offers health insurance as part of their benefits package for employees, this may be your best option because the employer pays a portion of the expense for you.
You will still pay a premium and may have copays or coinsurance, but these plans are attractive because the premiums come out of your paycheck before taxes.
Life happens, and situations change
We understand that life happens and situations change. In the health insurance industry, these important life changes are called “qualifying life events.” When you experience a qualifying life event, you become eligible for a special enrollment period, allowing you to sign up for coverage or update your current plan. This is your chance to make necessary changes or to choose new or different coverage based on your needs.
Some qualifying life events include:
- Getting married
- Having a baby
- Losing other health coverage due to events, such as a job loss
- Moving permanently to a new state. (Note: Temporary moves or temporary changes in location, including long-term stays at hospitals, are not qualifying events.)
- Turning 26 and losing eligibility for coverage on a parent’s insurance plan
If you’ve experienced a qualifying life event, it’s important to shop for and choose new health insurance right away. Generally, a special enrollment period is only available up to 60 days after the qualifying event. After that, you may not be able to add or update your health insurance coverage until the next open enrollment period begins.
Learn more about deadlines and how to apply here.
We have several options to get your questions answered, so you feel confident in selecting the right plan for you.
Visit our contact us page where you can call or email us directly, find a local agent, or contact one of our Blue Cross NC centers stores for a one-on-one discussion.
About James LaCorte
James LaCorte is a Social Media Manager and has been employed by Blue Cross North Carolina since 2003. He has built his career working in a variety of areas across the company. When not working you can find him kayaking a local river, photographing a nature scene, or running around with his family.