Higher Education has its Price as College Graduates Receive Diploma, Lose Health Coverage

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A new national survey exposes the unknown high risk facing many new graduates and their parents. Short term health plans are an ideal alternative for people in a variety of situations.

A recent survey by Assurant Health, the nation's leading provider of temporary health insurance, reveals that nearly 40 percent of respondents mistakenly believe that adult children (ages 21-24) living at home are still covered under their parents' health insurance plans. Unfortunately this is often not the case. While the age a child dropped from a parent's policy varies, typically most children lose coverage under their parents' plan at the end of the month they graduate and cease to be full-time students. One thing is certain -- many college graduates, and their parents, are not aware that they may now be at serious financial risk.

The survey also reveals that half (50 percent) of Americans believe that health insurance is only affordable through an employer, which could place college graduates and their parents at risk by prompting them to go without health insurance at all, even for a short time. According to The National Center for Education Statistics, over 1.4 million students will graduate with a bachelor's degree in 2006, and while the job outlook is brightening, there is no guarantee that graduates will find a job right away. In fact, the unemployment rate among this age group (20-24 year-olds) is considerably higher than the national unemployment rate of 5.6 percent.

All this adds up to the potential for a lot of uninsured Americans, especially among this young adult group. Although nearly half of Americans (44 percent) believe it is worse to go without health insurance than to not have a job, according to the most recent data available from the U.S. Census Bureau, over 8 million young adults (ages 18-24) went without health insurance in 2002, and overall this age group is the most likely to be without health insurance.

"Parents and young adults need to realize that going without health insurance is a risky option," said Wiley Long, President of HSA for America, an online health insurance agency. "We know that more than half of Americans have gone without health insurance at one point or another. It is critical that we educate people about the affordable alternatives like short term medical insurance plans in order to combat the growing healthcare concerns facing our country."

What is perhaps most surprising is that a large number of Americans are either unaware of or don't believe they can purchase an affordable short term health insurance policy. Because of this, some parents will opt to extend a recent graduate's coverage under their existing policy through COBRA – which can lead to unnecessarily high costs. However, there are a range of affordable short term medical policies out there, particularly for younger age groups, and HSA for America makes it easy to locate the right policy by offering convenient online access to quotes and almost immediate coverage.

But recent college graduates are not the only group that can benefit from short term medical insurance. With companies increasingly outsourcing jobs and authorizing layoffs, losing health insurance can happen at any time. Additionally, internships and co-ops are becoming the preferred path to permanent full-time employment (Collegiate Employment Research Institute at Michigan State University), and it is common for employers not to offer health plans with these types of positions.

Short term health plans are an ideal alternative for people in a variety of situations, including:

    -- Recent college graduates

    -- People between jobs

    -- Employees waiting for employer group coverage

    -- Temporary or seasonal employees

    -- Dependents no longer covered under parents' plan

    -- On-strike, laid-off or terminated employees

Choosing a plan and getting covered has never been easier. Unlike HMO or PPO plans, which generally have a very limited provider network to choose from, short term medical plans allow customers to use the doctors and hospitals of their choice, can be purchased online, and offer policyholders peace-of-mind because they can take effect almost immediately.

Coverage can be purchased for as few as 30 days or as many as 365 days (varies by state).

    Sample Short Term Medical Plan Costs*

    Person Characteristics - 30 Days Coverage - Deductible

    21-year-old             -            $82.62             -     $500

    28-year-old             -            $63.18             -     $1,000

    30-year-old             -            $48.60             -     $2,500

  • Does not include one-time $20 application fee.

For more information, free quotes or to apply online visit HSA for America's Short Term Health Insurance page at http://www.health--savings--accounts.com/temp.htm

About HSA for America:

HSA for America is an online health insurance broker specializing in Health Savings Accounts. Our Mission is to find individuals and families the best coverage available to meet their needs at the lowest price the market offers, while at the same time making the process easy. You can visit us online at http://www.health--savings--accounts.com/.

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Fred Adams
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