After College?

Although the health care bill has recently passed, many of the new provisions will not take effect for some time.  For recent college graduates, staying on their parents’ coverage may be a good option since many insurance companies have already expanded their coverage to the children of dependents until they are 26.  As of last fall, health plans must offer this.  However, this might not be an option for everyone.

One important thing during this time of transition is to be consistent with a medication plan. In order to do so, it is a good idea to talk to your doctors before your coverage changes in order to develop strategies so that you guarantee continued coverage of your medication.  This will insure that you stay healthy both physically and mentally.  Getting a prescription for a 90 day supply is one potential option.

If you plan to buy your own health insurance, learning about the different options and plans is crucial.  First, it is a good idea to figure out how long you may be under or uninsured.  This would help you to decide if you should look at short-term health insurance plans or more long term plans. has information on eligibility for public and private health insurance plans. is a for-profit website, but can offer a useful comparison of different private plans.

Many insurance companies that provide short term insurance, offer plans where you can buy insurance a month at a time, usually for up to 6-12 months.  However, it is important to understand that short-term plans only provide coverage in the event of an emergency or a catastrophic event.  Many short-term plans don’t cover regular check-ups, pre-existing conditions, prescription medications, or other preventative care needs.

When considering a health insurance plan, learning about the limits and constraints of high deductibles vs. low deductibles, as well as the premiums is vital.  When considering an insurance plan, the annual deductible is the amount of money you have to pay out of pocket before your health insurance kicks in.  Normally, the higher the deductive, the lower the premium, or monthly payment.

Along with the security of health insurance, there are also several clinics that offer sliding fees. Depending on your income and other expenses, certain clinics can adjust the price of their services and other health care needs.  You can find more resources on our website or by calling one of our individual advocates.

Though graduation is accompanied by celebration and excitement, there are also lots of things to start thinking about.  It is especially important for people with mental illnesses to plan ahead when thinking about health insurance.  This summer in particular may leave many people not only jobless but also without the medical coverage they need.

Speaking with health care professionals and advocates can help.  They possess the tools and resources that can help in alleviating possible long-term stress or more serious illnesses.  Taking the time to learn about your options and coming up with a strategy now will certainly help you avoid the pain and anxiety of being in need of medical care later, and not having the coverage to afford it.

This post comes from volunteer blogger Margo Tell.