When it comes to health insurance, millennials have gotten a bad reputation. The assumption is that young adults aren’t getting insured because we think we’re invincible. Older and wiser generations say we’re naïve risk-takers that are blind to consequences of our actions. While many of us might know a few people who fit the profile, I’ve found that cost is a much more common concern.
After last year’s open enrollment, a survey of young adults and found that two-thirds didn’t sign up because they “just couldn’t afford it.” So while many young adults might see the practical reasons they need health insurance, many are scared off by the perceived costs.
The truth is, health insurance doesn’t have to break the bank. Take a look at these four inexpensive options for the young and healthy:
If you’re under 26, one option is to stay covered under your parents’ insurance. Depending on your circumstance and health needs, this could be the route to take, but it’s always important to do your research on other options. Talk to your parents about what it means to be on their plan. What will they cover and what cost will you be responsible for? Learning about your options now will ease the transition when you have to find your own plan.
If you don’t have coverage options under your parents or from an employer, you can go through the Marketplace to purchase insurance. The good news? You can check to see if you qualify for subsidies or financial assistance and the numbers look good for young people: recent studies show that 82% of millenials (age 18 – 29) qualify for at least one subsidy through the health care exchange. You can use our online subsidy estimator to see if you’re eligible. For help enrolling in a Marketplace plan, call a health plan advisor at 855-237-3501.
If your income falls below subsidy levels, you may be eligible for Medicaid or the Healthy Michigan Plan (this is coverage tailored for people whose income is not enough to qualify for a subsidy on the Marketplace, but too much to receive Medicaid). Michigan anticipates that eventually more than 470,000 people will be eligible under Medicaid expansion—and many of these people are young adults. To see if you qualify, you can apply online at michigan.gov/mibridges, by phone at 855-789-5610, or in person at a local Department of Human Services office.
If your budget is on the tighter side or if you make too much money to qualify for a subsidy, you might want to look at catastrophic plans. Catastrophic plans, available to people under 30 years old, have a high deductible but low monthly payments. They cover the same essential health benefits as other plans, including preventive care. If you’re relatively healthy and just want to protect yourself against catastrophic expenses – a serious illness or accident that could cost thousands of dollars – this might be a good option for you.
For more health insurance tips read our Health Insurance 101 blog series, visit bcbsm.com/101 or follow the hashtag #Covered101 on our social channels. If you have a specific question, please submit your query online through our Customer Action Center.
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