Navigating Health Insurance after Graduation: Five Timely Tips for the Class of 2013

April 30, 2013

Nearly 2 million college students across the country will collect their diplomas this spring. Once the celebrations have ended, these new grads will face many important life decisions for the first time, including what to do about health insurance.

Whether they have a job lined up with health benefits pending, are staying on their parents' health insurance until age 26 or are considering buying their own coverage for the first time, it's important to know the options that are available and how to make the best choices.

Recent reports indicate that many young adults continue to assume both financial and health risks by going without health insurance coverage. Although being able to stay on their parents' plans until age 26 has reduced the numbers of uninsured young adults over the past few years, nearly three in 10 people ages 19 to 34 are uninsured. This is the highest proportion among all age groups measured in the latest U.S. Census data.

2014 will bring changes to the health insurance market that may affect many young adults, so it is important to make smart decisions today to help protect their health and finances.

UnitedHealthcare's Golden Rule Insurance Company ( offers these tips to get started:

  • Don't risk going uninsured. If you are eligible, consider staying on your parents' health insurance plan until you turn 26. However, also compare the cost of staying on their plan to buying your own coverage. You may find that buying your own coverage may be more affordable.
  • If you decide to buy your own coverage, make sure to include all health costs when determining how much you can afford, including monthly premiums and any out-of-pocket costs for health care services and prescriptions.
  • Ask questions. Solicit parents' and family members' advice, check out reputable insurance company websites or visit with a local independent insurance broker to learn the basics about health insurance.
  • Consider a high deductible health plan. For many young, healthy people, high deductible plans make smart sense because they provide quality coverage at lower premium rates.
  • Also, consider short term health insurance plans that can offer you temporary coverage for the remainder of 2013. Be sure to find a plan that lets you drop your coverage without penalty if you find a job with employer-sponsored health insurance benefits in the meantime.

New grads and young adults purchasing health insurance for the first time can also check out this YouTube video

A leading provider of health insurance for individuals and families for more than 65 years, Golden Rule has been a UnitedHealthcare company since 2003. UnitedHealthcare's personal health and dental plans are offered in 46 states and the District of Columbia, and marketed under the UnitedHealthOne brand. For more information, consumers can call 800-444-8990, visit or contact a local independent insurance broker offering their plans.

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