Medical bills are responsible for two-thirds of bankruptcies. That’s why health insurance is so important, no matter your age or health. Without proper medical coverage, a single accident could wipe away your savings and assets.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to get health insurance for young adults. Limited income and employment opportunities can complicate things further. However, you should know that you do have options.

You just need to know where to look. This health insurance guide will provide the essential information every young adult should know.

1. How Does Health Insurance Work?

Even a routine medical checkup can come with a large bill. And if you require more extensive medical care, the costs can easily balloon into tens of thousands of dollars. Few people have the savings to afford such an expense.

When you’re on a health insurance plan, you pay a monthly premium. Those payments, as well as the payments of other enrollees, cover the medical expenses of sick members. Some members may never need extensive medical coverage, while others will receive far more compensation than they pay.

In short, it’s a financial safety net that ensures you can pay for any health expenses you need now or in the future.

2. Free Health Insurance for Young Adults

Since young adults are new to the world of employment, they live off starting salaries. These don’t always have wiggle room to afford the cost of a monthly health insurance premium. Thankfully, young adults have a few ways to get health coverage at no cost.

The easiest option is to get help from your parents. If you’re 26 or younger, your parents can add you to their current health insurance plan. It’s a great option when you don’t have an employer who offers an insurance plan.

You could also apply for Medicaid for free or low-cost coverage. You’re likely to qualify if you’re low-income or have dependants.

3. Employer Health Insurance

The majority of Americans, about 56%, receive health insurance from their employer. Odds are, you work for a company that provides health insurance plans.

You should be able to sign up for insurance during your first days on the job. Keep in mind that your company is not footing the bill. The premium payment is untaxed and taken directly from your paycheck.

There’s no mandate that requires employers to offer health insurance to part-time workers. As a student, you might only work part-time or not at all. If that’s the case, you’ll have to go with a different option.

4. How to Buy Health Insurance

Health insurance is often cheapest when received from your employer. But when that’s not an option, you can buy your own plan. Your best resource is the health insurance marketplace.

During the enrollment period, you’ll be able to shop for and purchase an insurance policy of your choice. It may seem expensive at first, but many people qualify for subsidies, such as the premium tax credit. This will immediately reduce your monthly premiums.

5. Short Term Insurance Plans

You don’t always need a long-term insurance plan. For example, if you’re between jobs you don’t have access to employer health insurance. However, you still might want the protection of medical coverage.

That’s when you should turn to short term health insurance. These plans last from about a month to a year. When you land your next job, you can move on to your employer’s long-term health insurance.

Short-term plans are also a good option if you need temporary proof of insurance.

6. Student Health Plans

If you attend a university, there’s a good chance it offers a student health plan. Many of these plans are affordable and often cost less than employer health insurance. That’s because they’re made with young adults in mind.

Young adults are often healthier and less likely to need expensive medical coverage. Since there’s a lower risk, that means the costs are lower, too. Typically, a student health plan will cover a local network of doctors, as well as on-campus health services.

Best of all, student health plans do not require a co-pay for preventive services. Getting your shots for free is a great boon when you’re living on a bustling campus.

7. Don’t Forget Dental and Vision Insurance

Health insurance doesn’t cover everything. Without dental and vision insurance, you’ll have to pay out of pocket for teeth cleanings and eye exams. Even worse, you could pay a thousand dollars or more for moderate dental work or expensive lenses.

That’s why it’s a good idea to also purchase these two other types of insurance. You might think you don’t need dental coverage, but you’ll change your mind when you see the bill for a routine filling.

Dental and vision insurance is far cheaper than health insurance, so it won’t break the bank. You can shop around for private insurance options if you don’t currently have an employer. But unlike health insurance, you won’t receive tax credits or subsidized costs.

You Need Health Insurance

Although young adults are less likely to suffer from life-threatening illnesses, they aren’t invincible. Whether from illness or accident, nobody is safe from a medical emergency.

Plus, health insurance covers the cost of a routine checkup. This essential service makes it less likely you’ll suffer from serious medical complications in the future.

Health insurance for young adults is critical. You have so many options to find insurance coverage, there’s no excuse to go without. The peace of mind is often worth the monthly premium alone.

Did you find this article helpful? Then keep an eye on our health blog for more information.

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