2017-05-03 / Letters

Insurance & college grads

Dear Editor:

Over the next few weeks, West Virginia college graduates will walk across the stage to receive their diplomas. While post grads have a lot to think about as they plan their next step, they often overlook one important factor: health insurance.

Recent grads who were on a student health plan through their school might lose their health insurance after graduation. And while some students have coverage through their parent’s plan, they will need to find their own plan after they turn 26. However, due to options under the Affordable Care Act, recent grads can still get covered.

While open enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace has ended, some West Virginians may be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period if they experience a qualifying life event such as losing their current coverage. Getting married, having a baby or moving, among others, are also life changes that provide an opportunity to enroll.

Getting health insurance after graduation is essential. Even if an individual doesn’t have immediate health problems, a sudden illness or broken bone could break the bank. And luckily for those on a budget, many young people can qualify for financial help, to lower the cost of insurance premiums. In fact, almost half of young adults end up paying less than $50 a month. Also, it’s important to remember that those without health insurance may have to pay a fine with their 2017 federal taxes.

As students prepare to graduate, there’s so much to think about, but health insurance isn’t something to put on the back burner. Those losing their insurance have just 60 days to enroll before their Special Enrollment Period ends. Free local help can be found by calling WV Healthy Start Navigator, Brittany Watts at 304- 851-6737.

Brittany Watts

Martinsburg

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