Most young adults seem to think they’re immortal, so it’s no big deal when they suddenly age out of mom and dad's medical benefits. But all it takes is one accident or one case of appendicitis, and suddenly, disaster looms. Under the 2010 federal health reform act, your child's health coverage will continue until he or she turns 26. But for 20somethings who hit that mark and don't have health benefits through their employer, here are a few options:
- Short term health insurance: This quick solution to the health care crunch offers coverage for anywhere from a few months up to a year. It’s easy to get. Your child can apply online. Coverage starts almost immediately, and covers accidents and sudden serious illnesses, not preventative care, pre-existing conditions or that Hep B vaccine he somehow missed.
- COBRA: You may be able to continue your child's coverage under your family's policy, but you’ll have to pay the considerable premiums yourself, including the share that your company was paying before. This may be a good option if your child has pre-existing health conditions or he wants to continue with his family doctor.(Note: In 2014, pre-existing health conditions will no longer be legal grounds for denying coverage.)
- Alumni association insurance:If your child has graduated from college, have him check with his alumni association for health plans. UC Berkeley, for example, offers its graduates several health coverage options, including short-term insurance and Blue Shield Major Medical.