Health Insurance Tips for Adults

Too many young adults think of health insurance as an additional, unnecessary expense. After all, they won’t ever get sick or be hurt in this lifetime–they’re invincible! Contrary to this belief, however, many young adults–some in their late teens or early twenties–fall ill or are injured in accidents. They are hospitalized. They undergo many medical tests. They spend many days in the hospital. Who then pays the bills – and for how much?


Of course, the patient could possibly pay the hospital bills through personal savings or by taking out a loan. If this is the choice, it would be wise to spend time checking credit reports on a regular basis to ensure that their credit score is healthy. While these are both options for paying the medical bills, it is not optimal. It is clear that health insurance, of some kind, is necessary. This is especially true with the costs of medical care increasing year after year. You need to get yourself protected–just in case. What follows are some health insurance tips for adults in the event that they get sick or are injured in an accident.

You are going from high school to working in a company. According to Kathleen Stoll, Director of Health Policy at Families USA, a health care consumer advocacy group, you need to stay on your parent’s health plan, if they are covered, as it will be less expensive. If you are under the age of 26, you can stay on your parent’s health insurance policy unless you have job-related health insurance of your own. In addition, there are some states that extend the coverage of the child on the parent’s policy well past age 26. New Jersey, for example, allows children to stay on their parent’s health insurance until age 30, with certain exclusions. In 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) stated that 1.2 million young adults would stay on the plans of their parents.

There is, of course, a downside to this. The HHS estimates that the cost for each dependent under the policy is around $3,380 and that number will increase in coming years.

You are off to college. Another of the health insurance tips for adults is that there are some schools and universities that offer health insurance plans for students who are not covered by their parents. The annual premiums can run up to $2,400 but the average is around $850. The downside to this is that part-time students may not be eligible for coverage through these plans.

You are covered by a parent whose job was terminated. As long as the company that your parent has worked with is still in business, you can still get covered for up to 18 months (36 in some cases). This is covered by the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), a federal law. The downside to this is the cost. It is very expensive as you are responsible for the entire cost–the two percent administrative fee as well as the full amount of the premiums.

You don’t have a job. If you are jobless, your parents can carry you on their health insurance plan until you are 26. If you are a graduate from college, there are some alumni association programs which may offer a plan that can cover you for six months, and in some cases even give you a discount. New graduates are also often offered discounts.

The disadvantage to this is that it may be expensive and the coverage can be limited. This should only be looked at as a temporary option, until you find a job. If you get sick and your coverage expires while you’re still unwell, it could cause some problems.

You are self-employed. Another health insurance tip for adults is if you are self-employed, you may be eligible for group insurance plans that cost less than individual plans. The trade off is that the lower premium might result in less health care coverage and higher co-pays.

The downside is that you may not be covered if you have an unhealthy lifestyle. Those who have developed chronic illnesses because of smoking and drinking may need to pay a higher premium than the average individual. Also be careful of discount plans that are disguised to look like a health insurance plan. Getting a discount from a doctor is not the same as having an insurance plan, which actually covers medical expenses.


Amy Johnson is an active finance blogger who is fond of sharing interesting finance related articles to encourage people to manage and protect their finances.

One thought on “Health Insurance Tips for Adults

  • July 30, 2013 at 4:01 am

    Transition to adulthood involves new experiences and decisions.Gaining health care independence is one such decision.Even though the article explains in detail about adult insurance but still a number of querries come to my mind before reaching a decision.These questions include the kind of coverage the plan provides.What kind of benefits do i get and are there any annual caps on these benefits.


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