How Do I Get Health Insurance Coverage?
Getting or staying on a parent’s plan. If your parent’s health insurance plan covers dependents, you can usually be added to their plan and stay on it until you turn 26. Your parent should check with their plan or their employer’s benefits department to find out. If your parent is applying for a plan in the Health Insurance Marketplace, they can include you on their application or add you during the yearly Open Enrollment period. In general, you can join a parent’s plan and stay on until you turn 26 even if you get married, have or adopt a child, start or leave school, live in or out of your parent’s home, are not claimed as a tax dependent, or turn down an offer of coverage from your employer.
Buying your own health insurance plan. You can get your own health plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace. If you work part time or are self-employed, you may qualify for low-cost insurance or free coverage through Medicaid. If you leave your job and lose job-based insurance, you can buy an insurance plan any time of year, even if it’s outside the Open Enrollment time period, as long as you enroll within 60 days from when the insurance ends. When choosing the appropriate plan for you, you will want to find out the plan’s premiums (the monthly amount you pay to the insurance company), co-pays (the amount you are responsible for paying directly to your doctor or hospital), and deductibles (the maximum amount you pay before the health plan kicks in). You should also look at the network of doctors and hospitals you will have access to, and what services are covered (such as vision or dental).
Using a student health plan. If you plan to attend a school that offers a student health plan, it can be an easy and affordable way to get basic insurance coverage. Be aware that even if you have access to a student health plan, you may apply for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace instead. If you are claimed as a dependent on anyone’s tax returns (for example, by your parents), you may be included on that person’s application for a Marketplace plan. If you live in a different state, you may be able to apply yourself in the state you go to school. If you are not claimed as a dependent you should fill out your own application and do not include your parents’ income.Medicaid and CHIP. Medicaid is a program that provides health coverage to millions of individuals based, in part, on low income. The Children’s Health Insurance Program (“CHIP”) provides health coverage to people, up to age 19, in families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid. You may apply for Medicaid any time of year, as Medicaid and CHIP do not have Open Enrollment periods. You may either apply through the Health Insurance Marketplace or through your local Medicaid agency. To find out if you qualify for Medicaid based on your income, you may go to www.healthcare.gov/lower-costs and enter your household size and income. Even if you don’t qualify for Medicaid based on income, you should apply, because you may qualify for Kentucky’s program, especially if you have children, are pregnant, or have a disability.