Introduction to Understanding Health Insurance
Health insurance – isn’t that something that your mom and dad take care of? At The Youthhood, we believe that everyone should learn about health insurance. Someday you will be on your own, and if you don’t have health insurance you will be in a lot of trouble. So it’s good to learn about it now.
Even if you have no medical problems, you should be sure that you have health insurance. Anyone can become ill or be in an accident and need lots of medical care. It costs too much money to pay for health care without health insurance.
Insurance When You're On Your Own
There are several ways to get health insurance after graduating high school. Here are just a few.
Your Postsecondary School
One place to check about insurance is the postsecondary school you are attending (or may be attending in the future). Most schools have insurance for students. This may be helpful while you are in school if other options are not available. Note that you may be able to continue on your parents’ health insurance until you finish or until you turn 25 (check your parents’ insurance for the exact age as it may vary).
Many people get insurance through their workplace. Sometimes, you will have to pay a little each month for this insurance, but when you need to go to the doctor, your bill will be a lot less. When you look into a job, be sure to ask about their health insurance plan.
There are programs through the government, like Medical Assistance, that are available for people who do not work or for people who have disabilities. Each state has a their own plan. You will need to contact your state Department of Health and Human Services to learn about your state’s Medical Assistance and how to obtain it.
Your Parents' Insurance
If you don’t go to college or vocational school full time after high school, you may still be able to continue on your parents’ health insurance through COBRA, a government program that lets you purchase insurance through a parent’s employer for a period of up to three years. Have your parents check with the insurance benefits person at their employer(s) to see if COBRA is an option for you.
Tip: Carry Your Insurance Card
Don’t forget to carry your insurance card in your wallet. Each time you go to the doctor’s office you will be asked for your insurance card.
Try a Youthhood activity: