The millennial generation is entering the professional world with bright eyes. This is an exciting time for the creative and independent thinkers who are bringing innovative ideas for change. However a downfall to this confidence is the lack of fear, especially when it comes to health. The entrepreneur working 90 hours a week is a dreamer, but doesn’t think about the repercussions of stress building up. Many millennials do not view health insurance as necessary given their young invincible health, but it only takes one accident to be faced with medical debt that drives you into bankruptcy. Here are some options that you may not know about.
You can stay, or get back under your parents’ plan if you are still under 26.
Most universities/colleges offer health plans for students who are not covered. They will meet the minimum requirement for the Affordable Care Act.
Buying your Own Plan
There are options to buying your own plan. If you are a part of the 8 out of 10 people eligible for subsidies, you will have an affordable plan. The typical cost for someone within this group is $50 – $100 monthly.
An affordable option is the “Catastrophic” health plan. This is a plan with a high deductible, but low monthly payments. This is a plan that is meant for major incidents only, such as accidents or illness.
Keep in mind the “one catch” clause if you are claimed as a dependent. In this situation you still have the ability to purchase your own plan, however you will not qualify for savings based on monthly household income.
Typically it’s a quick application process for if you’re single or have a typical family arrangement. It will take very little time to find out whether or not you will receive subsidies.
Medicaid & CHIP
If you have low-income or find yourself in certain a life situation, you may qualify for free or low-cost Medicaid. The most common life situations that allow you to qualify include: disability, children, and some family circumstances like pregnancy.
Even if you do not qualify for Medicaid, your children may still qualify for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Make sure to check out the website to find out if they qualify.
Some states have expanded Medicaid so that you can qualify based solely on income. Among the states that have grown Medicaid, the average yearly income for individuals is around $16,500 and married couples without children are $22,000 in 2016.
The choice inevitably is yours, however if you decide not to purchase coverage through one form or another you will be penalized in your federal tax return if you do not qualify for an exemption. The penalty for tax year 2016 is the greater of 2.5% of your annual household income or $695 for an adult, $347.50/child. For tax year 2017, the percentage penalty stays at 2.5%, but the flat fee will be adjusted to match inflation.
The millennial generation is reshaping the world, but that doesn’t protect against illness or accidents. Carefully consider your options when purchasing health insurance and consult with a professional, such as a health insurance broker or free navigator if you find yourself lost.