Health insurance for young and starting out individuals are generally low on their priorities, and even when they think about it, they are concern about choosing the right coverage, understanding how health insurance works, and about finding a plan with an affordable premium. There are some good health insurance options for young adults, who are in their teens and 20s that provide them comprehensive coverage at an affordable price. Young individuals who have turned 26 and no longer covered under their parent’s plans are required to choose the right plan in their budget.
Factors to Consider
Young adults while shopping for health insurance should take their present situation into consideration like their age, income, and current stage. For instance, a millennial starting a family will require a different health plan compared to a young adult starting his first job and living alone. Therefore, individuals while shopping should evaluate their own situation, and carefully review policies to find the best option available. While shopping for health insurance young individuals should consider the following factors:
- While comparing health insurance options available to them, young individuals should keep in mind the total costs of the health plans that include premium as well as out-of-pocket costs.
- Look for the health plan that offers quality care, because individuals will require access to personalized treatment from healthcare providers and hospitals, irrespective of their place.
- Young individuals should always look for a plan that has a range of in-network doctors and hospitals so that they can choose the provider that offers discounted rates.
- Look for a plan that provides annual check-ups and preventive care at no additional cost, as preventive care like annual screening will help them stay healthy and fit.
- Individuals should shop from a health insurance portal that provides them a simple and easy-to-use tool that allows them easily compare prices and benefits of different plans.
Young Adults have the following Free or Cheap Health Insurance Options
Young individuals should first check out for the free health insurance plans for which they might be eligible. Such plans may include a company plan provided by their employer or a federally funded Medicaid program.
Employer-sponsored Health Plan – Obtaining health insurance through an employer’s health plan is among the best or low-cost health insurance options for young adults. Though this is not as common as before, due to the rising healthcare cost employers are requiring their employees to pay a part of their premium. Still, the employer-sponsored health plan can be a cheap option, as most of the employers will pay the major portion of the premium. Besides, the premium of the employer-sponsored plan is taken out of the employee’s paycheck pretax. With this type of health plan, young adults will have coverage for themselves and their dependents if they have.
Medicaid – Another low-cost or free health insurance option for a young adult if they qualify is the federally funded Medicaid program. Young adult’s eligibility for this program will depend on whether their state has passed legislation to expand Medicaid or not. States that have expanded Medicaid allow its resident to enroll if their household income falls below 138% of the federal poverty level. Enrolling in the Medicaid program will be best for young adults who are currently unemployed or work at a company that does not provide health insurance benefits.
Private Health Insurance Plans – Young adults who are not getting employer coverage or who don’t qualify for Medicaid due to high income can find comprehensive health plans either from state health insurance marketplaces, off-exchange providers, or student coverage through a school or college.
State Health Insurance Exchange – Young adults can purchase a cheap health insurance plan through their state health exchange if they are not employed or not eligible for Medicaid coverage. There are five different metal tiers of plans offered on the state exchange like Catastrophic, Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Young adults need to choose the best metal tier plan depending upon their income and health condition. For instance, a single young adult would find lower-tier plans like Catastrophic and Bronze to be ideal, as these plans have cheap premiums and high deductible making it ideal for individuals expecting low or no medical costs. Silver-tier plans will suit young adults who have just started a family. Young adults who can afford high premiums can obtain a Gold or Platinum plans.
Off-exchange Health Plans – Young adults can compare private health insurance plans to find the most affordable options, as here they will have the option to purchase a full benefit plan similar to Obamacare marketplace plans. These health plans are either purchase directly from the insurance companies or through an agent. Individuals should bear in mind that off-exchange plans are not eligible for premium tax credits offered by the government.
Student Health Plan – Another affordable and cheap option for full-time students or recent college graduates is to obtain coverage through their university. Most of the colleges and schools offer a health insurance plan to students when they first arrive on campus. This plan should be considered by young adults who are currently on their parent’s plan and the state where they have joined school does not have a similar network provider.
Staying on Parent’s Health Plan – Young adults who are under 26 years of age can stay on their parent’s plan. This is a good option for those whose parents receive health coverage through their employer or have an individual policy because they will not need to pay for premiums. Young adults can join their parent’s health plan even if they are married, not living with their parents, attending school, eligible to enroll in employer-sponsored plans, or are not financially dependent.
Short-term Plans – Another cheap option for young adults is a short-term plan, which they directly buy from a health insurance company. The Short-term plans are thin policies that don’t provide the same benefits as Obamacare marketplace insurance or private insurance plans but still, these are a cheap and affordable alternative that is useful for young adults with budget restrictions and a few healthcare needs. These plans can be considered by young adults who don’t require all the essential benefits offered by a normal plan or by a person who has a pre-existing condition like diabetes.