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Money Matters

Common Challenges Young People Face in Choosing Health Plans

While recent grads are already worrying about student loan debts, there’s another pressing financial problem. In a recent survey, eHealth highlights the most common challenges young adults face in choosing health plans.

1. Sticking with Mom and Dad’s plan when moving out of state: If you’re moving to a new state after graduation, you’ll likely lose access to your current plan’s in-network providers, meaning going to the doctor will get a lot pricier.

2. Failing to take advantage of health insurance subsidies:  73% of young adults said they earn $50,000 or less per year, making many of them potentially eligible for subsidies that would lower their monthly premiums. Government subsidies are available to those earning less than 400% of the federal poverty level (about $49,000 annually).

3. Enrolling in a catastrophic plan when you qualify for subsidies:: “Catastrophic” plans cost less than other major medical plans and are primarily available to people under age 30, so young adults understandably flock to them. However, you can’t use government subsidies to help pay premiums for a catastrophic plan.

4. Thinking you’re off the hook for the tax penalty this year:The repeal doesn’t take effect until 2019, meaning if you go without health insurance coverage for more than two consecutive months in 2018 you may still face a hefty penalty on your federal tax return. In eHealth’s survey, only 25% of young adults considered themselves well informed about the repeal of the ACA’s tax penalty for going uninsured.

5. Not taking advantage of a qualifying life event to shop for coverage: You need to experience a “qualifying life event” i.e. getting married, having a child, moving to a new coverage area, or the loss of other coverage etc. to sign up for a new plan outside of the open enrollment period in November.