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New Grads: Health Insurance 101

doctor(CNN) — A lot has happened on the health care front since 2010.

And when exchanges under the Affordable Care Act finally opened last fall, it also opened a lot of new options for this year’s college grads.

Most campus insurance plans will run until at least the end of the summer. After that, graduates should weigh whether to stay on their parents’ health insurance plan. Under the ACA, young people can now do so until they are 26, with flexibility in that time frame.

“You might take a job right out of school, go on your employer’s health plan, and in a couple years decide to quit, go back to grad school. You can go right back on the parents’ health plan, as long as you’re still under 26,” said Nancy Metcalf, Consumer Reports senior editor.

Moving to a new state or city, or losing school coverage, can be considered “life qualifying events” under the Affordable Care Act, triggering a “special enrollment period.”

The next milestone to consider is landing a full-time job.

“You always have the option of buying your own insurance, but it’s the rare employer insurance plan that’s not going to offer a better deal for the simple reason that if you go through an employer, the employer is going to pay probably most of your premium,” Metcalf said.

The next open enrollment period for the ACA exchanges begins on November 15, for coverage beginning January 1, 2015. That’s plenty of time to consider options and eligibility.

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  1. Jeremy Engdahl-Johnson says:

    Here are some numbers that put the decision of purchasing health insurance in context for young uninsureds. See more at: http://www.healthcaretownhall.com/?p=7326#sthash.T1i39up0.dpbs

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