Ask Kim


How to Keep Recent Grads Insured

Kimberly Lankford

As a result of the health-reform law, adult children can stay on their parents' health insurance policies when they graduate.



My daughter is about to graduate from college and doesn’t have a job. What should I do about her health insurance?

You can rest easy. Because of last year’s health-reform law, adult children no longer lose their coverage when they graduate; instead, they can remain on their parents’ health insurance policies until age 26.

If you already have family coverage for other, younger children, then you may not need to pay extra to keep your new grad on the policy. But if you could otherwise scale back your policy to coverage for a couple or just yourself, compare the cost of keeping your child on the plan to the price of buying her own policy -- in most states, a healthy twentysomething can get coverage for less than $100 per month.

Buying a separate policy may also be a good choice if your kid moves to a city with few in-network providers or hospitals that participate in your health plan. You can get price quotes at eHealthInsurance.com.

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Raising the deductible to at least $1,200 can lower the cost and qualify for a health savings account, where your child can amass tax-free money for medical expenses in any year (you can even give her some cash to get started). Because of the new law, some preventive care must now be covered in many policies for free, regardless of the deductible (see 6 Ways to Cash In on the Health Law for details).

For more information about HSAs, see What to Know About Health Savings Accounts and Health Savings Account Answers.

And see Health Insurance for Adult Children for the rules for keeping your daughter on your policy if she ends up getting offered a job with inferior coverage.

Got a question? Ask Kim at askkim@kiplinger.com.



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