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College graduates should consider options for health insurance

Devyn Bisson is a 22-year-old Orange resident to graduate from Chapman University with a degree in film. She knows she'll have to think about health, after graduation, but not yet.

"It's the last thing I look at," she says. "I'm much more concerned with how I'm going to make money."

With graduation looming, college students, many big questions facing in the coming months. They may include signing up for health insurance and facing deadlines and even fines for behind.

For Bisson, log into her parents' health plan - something millions of young adults have been allowed to do under the Affordable Care Act - is not an option, and her Current job as a lifeguard in Huntington Beach do not offer health benefits.

The student health insurance policy she gets in school expires this summer, leaving her without coverage.

"As far as what I'm going to buy, health care," Bisson says, "I have not looked at that."

Couple people like to think about health insurance until needed, and that can be especially true for college graduates starting out on their own.

Open enrollment - the period during which you can sign up for a new health plan - is now officially closed, but many college graduates and others may still be able to buy insurance.

The government offers several exceptions for people to sign up during the year, even after registration closes.

These "qualifying events" include the birth or adoption of a child, marriage, divorce, losing eligibility on a parent's health plan by turning 26, and move to a new area. The loss of employment-based insurance, school insurance or Medi-Cal also count.

"Now, open enrollment is over, there should be a qualifying event, and losing a student health plan, such a qualifying event," says JoAnn Volk, senior research fellow with Georgetown University Health Policy Institute.

Not surprisingly, young people experience more life transitions, allowing for special enrollment periods than other age groups, according to a recent report by Young Invincibles, a national organization that seeks to represent the interests of 18 - to 34-year-old.

Knowing what is available

New grads lucky country has a job should ask about health insurance at work. The younger than 26 can stay or be added to a parent health plan if the parents agree.

Consumers in California can shop covered California insurance exchange set up under the Affordable Care Act. People with incomes below about $ 45,000 a year can qualify for tax credits to help lower their costs.

Graduates earn less than about $ 16,000 a year may also be eligible for Medi-Cal coverage.

Not immediately

You have 60 days from the date of your qualifying event to enroll in a plan.

For example, if Bissons student health plan ends August 31, she will get until October 31 to choose and buy a new policy.

If she does not complete the process in time, she will have to wait until later this year to enroll in a plan that takes effect in 2015. She may also have to pay a fine of his federal income taxes next year. Penalties amount to $ 95 or 1% of her taxable household income, whichever is greater.

Those eligible for Medi-Cal, may enroll at any time.


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