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Congratulations, Graduate. Where’s Your Insurance?

March 31, 2010

Columbia, S.C. – A down economy generally means fewer high school graduates who can afford to go on to college, and fewer college graduates finding jobs with benefits — a double whammy for the ranks of the uninsured.
 
Health care reform legislation that allows parents to keep their children on their plans until age 26 won’t kick in for six more months. Even when it does start, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina advises consumers to compare prices between individual and family policies.
 
“While many graduates will forego health insurance to save money, this is dangerous. Accidents and unforeseen illnesses can be financially devastating. We advise these individuals not to wait to get coverage,” said BlueCross Assistant Vice President Irving Albrecht. 
 
BlueCross’ Blue SpectrumSM plans, Personal BlueSM Basic and Personal BlueSM Secure, feature the options of lower premium prices and flexibility in benefits so these former students don’t have to pay for coverage they don’t need or want.
 
Here are some tips for graduates to consider when shopping for insurance:

  • Know the date that your health coverage expires under your parents’ policy.
  • Find out from your parents’ health plan if you can qualify for continued coverage or for COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) under your parents’ plan, but keep in mind that COBRA can be expensive.
  • If you were covered under a college’s student group plan, some colleges offer an option to extend those plans temporarily after graduation. 
  • Assess the state of your health and your family’s health history and choose a policy that has benefits that fit your needs and budget.
  • If you can’t afford regular health insurance, a less expensive option is a high-deductible plan that only covers serious or catastrophic health costs for a lower premium (monthly set payment). You pay out of pocket for routine doctors’ visits and annual checkups until you meet the deductible, then the insurance kicks in.
  • Understand that discount plans and non-licensed risk sharing plans are not insurance plans. Discount plans promise discounts at certain providers for a monthly fee. Risk sharing plans not licensed by a state insurance department require monthly payments that are put in a savings account or trust with other participants’ money and then used to pay health costs, but these plans do not have the protections available in licensed insurance plans.
  • Work with an agent or search the Internet for health plans available from companies licensed to offer insurance in your state. The state’s insurance department will confirm if a company or agent is licensed.

BlueCross’ plans start at $49.23 a month — that’s about $1.58 a day. Details can be obtained by going to www.insuremygrad.com or by calling 800-991-3501.
 
Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. The only South Carolina-owned and operated health insurance carrier, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina comprises more than 30 companies involved in health insurance services, U.S. DoD health program and Medicare contracts, other insurance and employee benefits services, and a philanthropic foundation that funds programs to improve health care and access to health care for South Carolinians.

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