How to Get Health Insurance Without a Job
Theodore Bessman | Gradspot
Many recent grads who freelance, work for start-ups, or spend their days playing backgammon and other games of leisure do not have health insurance. In fact, a quarter of all Americans in their 20s live without medical insurance of any kind. Hospitals don’t take bill collection lightly and even a broken arm can land you fifteen grand in the hole.
Think about it this way: Walking around without health insurance is a lot like signing up for a recreational Russian Roulette league. Even if nothing happens the first few weeks, sooner or later someone’s gonna get a bullet straight through the temple.
Though the health insurance industry is completely abusive and falling to pieces, that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to find a reasonably good deal that can keep you healthy, wealthy, and maybe even wise. Remember that even if you’re relatively fit a catastrophe could happen and you need to be covered; if you have a lot of health issues or need frequent prescriptions, you may want to look for wider coverage.
Keep it in the Family
Many states allow children to remain on their parents’ plan until surprisingly old ages. The great state of New Jersey, for example, allows residents to ride their parental coattails until the age of 30!
Check out state specific information to see if you can stay afloat through your twenties. The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, better known as the semi-poisonous COBRA, gives grads no longer covered by their parents’ plans the option to extend coverage for 18 months.
There is one major caveat: extending the plan means paying the amount the parent’s employer pays in addition to some administrative costs. The average cost for single coverage is estimated to be about $350 a month. Seems a bit high, but this might be the best option for people who have recently had serious illnesses or recurring medical problems, both of which may hike up initiation fees in certain states.
Join the Union
Look into joining the Freelancers Union. Why? Firstly, being part of a union is pretty cool. Secondly, the Freelancers Union offers a specialized network for freelancing professionals. Lastly, and most importantly, the union provides health insurance at pretty low rates. The cheapest deal in the union costs about $130/month with a $10,000 deductible.
What does that mean? Basically, you pay discounted rates out-of-pocket for all medical expenses up to $10,000, and then afterward all expenses are covered. So everything is covered in worst case scenarios without the possibility of long term debt.