Information for Graduating Seniors about Health Care Services
To promote your health and protect your financial future, we encourage you to maintain some form of health insurance after graduation. The Affordable Care Act of 2010 currently allows young adults to be covered under their parents'/guardians' insurance plan(s) up to the age of 26 if they are not eligible for employment-based coverage. Starting in 2014, young adults have the option to remain on their parents'/guardians' plan(s) up to the age of 26 regardless of employment-based eligibility. Additionally, if you have an existing health condition you may be able to take advantage of COBRA, which would allow you to stay on your parents'/guardians' policy for up to 36 months post-graduation. Be sure to check your state's regulations since restrictions and extensions vary.
The Young Invincibles, a national advocacy organization for young Americans between the ages of 18 and 34, has updated their website giving college students and their families’ valuable information about health care coverage
The following are suggestions for locating a healthcare provider and health insurance after graduation:
- Are you going to be continuing your school career? If you are deferring work for graduate or professional studies, health services might be available to you through the institution. Health services at colleges and universities usually provide basic primary care and gynecologic care.
- Some employers will start all job benefits, including health insurance, after a probationary period. These periods vary from as little as 30 days of employment to 90 days. If you are starting a new job right after graduation, make sure to find out how long the waiting period is (if any) before your health care benefits activate. You may be able to buy into the company insurance for the length of the probationary period.
- Make community connections. Most community hospitals and health centers have services for uninsured or underinsured individuals. These services are usually primary care, and do not cover a specialist. The local hospital or health center operator will have the names and telephone numbers of such affiliations.
- Will you need routine gynecological care? Depending on the city, an appointment for a routine exam for a pap smear and/or birth control pills with a private gynecologist may have a substantial waiting period. Washington D.C. typically has a 2-4 month wait, and New York City, sometimes 4-6 months. If you are relocating to a new city or town, call the local hospital hotlines for information on gyn providers, and try to make an appointment well in advance of when your annual exam is actually due. Be flexible. For example, Planned Parenthood is located in many communities around the country and is known for their respectful, high quality care. The general number to locate one in your new locale is: 1-800-230-PLAN.
No matter where you plan to locate, or what type of insurance you have, it’s always a good idea to choose and meet with your new healthcare provider BEFORE an emergency or illness arises. Once relocated to your new home, make an appointment for an introductory physical with your doctor or nurse practitioner as soon as possible.