Susie is a recent college graduate and first-time employee trying to get health insurance.
She’s watched our first two videos “Health Insurance 101 and 102”, so now she understands
how health insurance works.
However, she still has no idea how to get it.
What should she do?
Well, let’s first cover the good news.
Many employers already provide affordable health insurance, not to mention Susie can
continue stay on her parents’ health insurance plan until she turns 26.
This is true even if she’s married, moves out of her parents’ home, or is no longer
claimed as a dependent on her parents’ tax returns.
However, for our purposes, let’s say Susie is unable to stay on her parent’s health
insurance and her employer-sponsored plan isn’t great.
What should she do?
Well, Susie still needs health insurance, especially because there’s a sizeable annual
penalty for not having it.
However, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, it’s now very easy for Susie to find great
health insurance plans, either through our recommend website or through healthcare.gov.
Then, once Susie finds her desired plan, she can then easily complete the application online,
where she may even automatically qualify for a federal subsidy that lowers the cost of
her insurance, so long as her income meets a certain threshold.
However, there is a catch to all this good news.
Unless Susie qualifies for Medicaid, the government’s health insurance plan for low-income individuals,
she can only apply for health insurance during open enrollment, which lasts from November
1st to January 31st.
Outside of it, Susie can only apply for health insurance within 60 days of what’s called
a qualifying life event, such as moving to a new state, getting married, having a baby,
or involuntarily losing your existing health insurance coverage.
Finally, now that Susie understands how to get health insurance, as long as she follows
these six rules she should be set for the future:
Rule 1: Make sure the insurance plan you’re considering has coverage in your area.
Rule 2: Be sure to read the fine print of any health insurance plan you’re considering,
Rule 3: If you’ve picked a high deductible insurance plan, we recommend opening a Health
Savings Account, in which you can deposit money tax-free to pay for qualified medical
Rule 4: Once you’ve finished your insurance shopping, you’ll need to find a great primary
care physician in your insurance network and book an annual physical, both of which you
can do easily using our recommended website.
Once booked, be sure to arrive to your appointment early and always bring your photo ID and insurance
Rule 5: Once you’ve received your medical bill from your provider, be sure to compare
it with your Explanation of Benefits, which is a document, not a bill, that explains how
much your insurer paid your provider.
Should you find a mistake on either one, like a duplicate charge or wrong insurance information,
be sure to call your insurer and provider immediately.
And don’t worry, if for whatever reason you still can’t pay your medical bill, you’re
not out of options.
You can either contact your insurer and provider and ask for assistance, or use the website
GiveForward to crowdfund your medical expenses from your friends, family, and even strangers.
Rule 6: Before renewing your health insurance plan each year, be sure to check out other
plans during open enrollment.
There may have been significant improvements in cost or coverage since you last applied,
especially if you got your plan before January 1st, 2014.
Rule 7: (the final rule): If you lose your job, don’t automatically take COBRA, which
is a high-priced way to extend your employer-sponsored health insurance for up to 18 months.
Instead, shop around for other health insurance plans before making any decisions.
You have finished our health insurance basics curriculum!
If you want to see our free recommendations for great health insurance plans or HSAs,
or just check out more educational material, be sure to check out our website.