Choosing the correct and most affordable Teen Health Plans can be a tricky feat. As a young adult, options range from continuing to stay on your parents’ plans, if they have insurance, to using options provided by schools or states.
With that, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law in 2010, can also cause confusion about health insurance options available and what happens if health insurance is not purchased.
There is a monetary penalty for people who choose to forgo purchasing health insurance. Florida health insurance for teens and young adults is available, and there are a range of options to help maximize coverage and lower costs.
State and Federal Plans
With the change in health care laws over the past five years, what is available through state and federal funded programs has evolved.
Changes in benefits, as well as to Medicaid and CHIP, can be confusing and it’s important to fully investigate the benefits you can receive from state programs to understand if a private insurance plan is a better option.
Parents’ Extended Group Benefits
Because of the Health Care Reform Act, or ObamaCare, a teenager or young adult is able to remain on his or her parents’ insurance plan until he or she is 26 years old. If a plan covers children, a parent can add their daughter or son to their policy.
The child can remain on the plan, no matter what, until his 26th birthday. Previously, things such as being married or attending college affected this type of coverage, however marriage, where the child lives, if the child is attending school and even if the child is financially dependent or independent are all factors that no longer matter.
After the child’s 26th birthday, they qualify for a special enrollment period so they can get a health plan outside of open enrollment. This period ends after 60 days.
By not enrolling in a health coverage plan within 60 days, there’s a chance they will not be able to get coverage until the following open enrollment period, so it’s important to have a plan of action before your birthday. Talking to a health insurance broker is a great way to be prepared for this change.
Medicaid is the government managed health program funded by both the states and the federal government. It provides health coverage to Americans who qualify, including those with a low-income, pregnant women, elderly adults and people with disabilities.
Qualifications for Medicaid are based on income, disability, family status and household size. The eligibility is different in all states, so checking the eligibility requirements in Florida is important before assuming you will be covered by Medicaid.
To apply for Medicaid you can either go directly to the state Medicaid agency or fill out an application on Marketplace, which is the government managed health insurance site. It’s possible to apply for Medicaid at any time of the year and not just during the Marketplace Open Enrollment period.
In Florida, Medicaid is expanding its program to cover households with incomes that are up to 138% of the federal poverty level. For one young adult that would mean the income would have to be at $16,243 a year or less.
Student Coverage Options
As a college student there are more options to get low-cost insurance.
Universities typically offer full-time students some type of student health plan, and most health insurance companies offer a low-cost health insurance specifically for college students. Unfortunately, there is no exemption from the no-coverage penalty for students, so it’s important to find the right coverage or be prepared to pay the penalty.
When a young adult isn’t covered by his or her parent’s insurance, is no longer a student and is working to be above the poverty line just enough to disqualify for state-aid, buying insurance can seem like an expensive and painful venture.
Some may opt to take a chance and pay the no insurance penalty; however, the risk of an unexpected illness or injury can cause a person who thinks he or she is saving money to pay more in the long-term. Luckily, options such as temporary or catastrophic health insurance allow young adults peace of mind at a lower cost.
Temporary Health Insurance
As a teenager who will soon be eligible for college or group health insurance, but is ineligible for other Florida health insurance, it’s possible to opt into a temporary health insurance plan.
These plans are available for six months and typically are much more affordable than the usual preferred provider organization (PPO) or health maintenance organization (HMO). These plans come with a higher deductible but are a great option if the person doesn’t typically have health issues.
Catastrophic Health Plans
Similar to temporary health insurance, catastrophic health insurance has a higher deductible; however, it is available for more than six months. Catastrophic health plans, which are available to people under the age of 30, will mean that the person pays for most healthcare costs up to a certain amount, and after that the insurance company will pay its share.
It only covers those costs after you’ve had a lot of care. This insurance is meant to protect people from serious accidents or illnesses that are unexpected.
How to choose what is best
The best way to choose which insurance option will offer the best coverage, as well as the lowest premium, it’s always a good idea to talk to your Florida health insurance broker. Even if you are eligible for state-funded insurance options, a knowledgeable health insurance expert will be able to explain the pros and cons of each insurance plan with you and can help you make the best long-term decision.
Consulting with a health insurance broker is typically free, so don’t hesitate to call, email or stop by an office to put yourself in control of your health options.