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Finding Health Insurance After College

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I was spoiled in college when it came to health insurance. For $700 a year, I got health insurance coverage; during my last two years, financial aid covered that cost.

While I was in college, I was incredibly accident-prone and desperately needed that insurance: during those four years, I had an acid reflux attack that caused me to stop breathing temporarily, mononucleosis, a cancer scare, sprained ankle, damaged nerve in my index finger due to a knife wound, and a severely injured hip that required extensive physical therapy. And that does not even include medications. My professors even started to keep track of how many times I came to class with a new injury.

I realized my health insurance was running out when only $0.12 was covered for my birth control pills two months before my insurance card expired. However, getting new health insurance is not that easy for me. Like many Americans, I do not get health insurance through an employer. I work full-time as a freelance writer while preparing to go back to school for my dual master's next year. While I belong to the Freelancers Union, which provides a discount on insurance, I am still looking at between $300 and $400 a month—quite a price jump for me.

Buying health insurance for the first time is definitely a learning experience. I split my time between Connecticut and New York, so I need an insurance plan where I can receive treatment in both states. Connecticut does have insurance plans that cost significantly less; however, there are multiple restrictions. You cannot go outside of the network while you are under coverage; thus, I could not use these plans while I am in New York. Besides finding a deductible I can afford, I also need extensive prescription medication coverage. The college health insurance plan I had covered up to $500 in medication; I went through that pretty quickly.

While in between coverage, there is some extra anxiety: what if I get injured? How would I pay for additional medication or hospital fees? This is a worry of many recent graduates as they make the transition.

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My kids had the same problem, coming out of school, and reaching age 23 when our health insurance automatically dropped them. Through our insurance agent, we were able to find plans they could afford. Until a few years ago, there might have only been some sort of co-op plan, not really insurance, available. However, now there are individual health insurance plans offered by groups of carriers offering a group rate to those who don't have a company-sponsored plan. You'd have to do a search for what's available in your state.

September 2, 2009 - 5:10pm
EmpowHER Guest

Another need for new graduates is renters insurance. Take a look at www.gradguard.com/renters

For less than .50 cents a day you can get both coverage for your personal property and liability coverage.

September 2, 2009 - 4:11pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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