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Health Insurance Options After Graduation When You’re Unemployed

Posted on: September 12th, 2012 by Kristen Marie

Dear COBRA Insurance Direct –

So here is my situation. I am 23 years old and just graduated college, but like many of my classmates I still don’t have a job and really need health insurance. I go to the doctor often and know I can not afford the cost with a health insurance plan. What options do I have? Can I sign up for COBRA insurance? I am pretty healthy overall, just prefer to have a full coverage plan. Thanks.

Unemployed with Degree

Dear Unemployed with Degree,

It sounds like you are in a difficult situation, but at least you are not alone. Many college graduates these days find that it is much harder to find a job than it was in the past and also find themselves pondering difficult health insurance decisions. Based on your situation, you actually probably have more options than you think for health insurance while you look for a job.

  1. Keep Using Your Parent’s Insurance: Under the recent health care legislation, you can use your parent’s health insurance up to the age of 26 years old now. Even if you haven’t been on it because you used university insurance, you could sign up again during open enrollment. If your parent’s are averse to the extra cost, offer to pay your share because it will still likely be better coverage and less expensive than anything else.
  2. Look for an Alumni Insurance Plan: Many colleges and universities have started offering health insurance plans for alumni that they can use. These plans can usually offer a better rate than a private plan since they are covering more people. Inquire at your school to find out what is available for recent graduates.
  3. Consider COBRA Insurance: If your parents recently qualified for Medicare, lost their job, or had another qualifying event, you qualify for COBRA insurance for up to 36 months. However you must notify the employer and plan if you are in this situation immediately and sign up within 60 days of the event happening.
  4. Look at Private Plans: Given you said you are relatively healthy and you are young, you can probably get a very good rate for a private insurance plan. These plans have a reputation of being very costly but for someone who is young and healthy, you can likely find a full coverage plan for under $200 a month.
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