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4 Health Insurance Options for Young Adults

Young adults have more access to health insurance coverage than ever before.(1) However, despite these gains, they also have some of the highest uninsured rates of any age group in the United States.(2) Having adequate health insurance is critical, even if you are young and healthy. Without it, getting hurt or sick could result in costly medical expenses that could lead to financial hardship. Here are four health insurance options to help you protect yourself.

Get on or stay on your parent's plan. If your parents have employer-sponsored health insurance or a Health Insurance Marketplace plan, you usually can be added to or remain on a parent's plan until you turn 26. Generally, you can stay on your parent's plan until you turn 26 even if you:

  • Get married
  • Have or adopt a child
  • Start or leave school
  • Live in or out of your parents' home
  • Aren't claimed as a tax dependent
  • Turn down an offer of job-based coverage

Enroll in your school's student health plan. Most U.S. colleges and universities require their students to have a certain level of health insurance coverage. If you are in college, you may be able to enroll in your school's student health plan if you don't already have health insurance or if your insurance plan does not meet the coverage requirements.

Apply for insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Marketplace plans offer affordable coverage for essential health benefits and pre-existing conditions. In addition, when you fill out an online application for the Health Insurance Marketplace, you will find out if you qualify for a plan that offers income-based savings (if you are not a tax dependent) or if you are eligible for other free or low-cost coverage (e.g., Medicaid, CHIP).

Obtain coverage through your employer. If your employer offers health insurance coverage, consider enrolling in your company plan. If you just turned 26 and are outside of the open enrollment period, you may qualify for a special enrollment period. Employer-sponsored plans are typically more affordable than individual health plans because many employers pay a portion of the premiums.

For more information on health insurance coverage for young adults, visit healthcare.gov.

1) Urban Institute, 2021

2) American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2020

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