Florida Health Insurance Topic:
"Health Insurance - Choices"

HEALTH INSURANCE DECISIONS

April 23, 2009 -- While some seniors are entering graduate school after graduation, many will no longer be full-time students, making them ineligible for health insurance from companies.

"If insurance companies had their way, they would only insure healthy people," said Anita Vogely, an adjunct in the health and physical education department. "That way they could make as much money as they can without having to pay anything at all."

Graduating seniors are often left with only two insurance options.

"One option is to remain uninsured," Vogely said. "The other is to find an insurance plan that fits your personal needs."

Being uninsured means you are taking a chance, she said. "You never know what your medical needs will be in the future."

There are many different health care options available and graduates need to do their own research to find a plan that's right for them.

While researching, students will need to look at the company's policy and their own state of health, Vogely said.

"Students should assess what health risks are likely to affect them," she said. "Medications for certain allergies and other ailments can end up costing students a lot of money if they are not covered."

According to Vogely, as students start to age they become a greater risk to insurance companies.

"It tends to be easier to change or improve health coverage if you already have it," she said. "If you have been paying premiums throughout your life, insurance companies may consider you a worthwhile economic risk."

Many students are covered by their parents' health insurance, which will insure them as long as they are enrolled in a school as a full-time student.

"Last year I went home for medical reasons and my health insurance agency was informing me that I would not have health insurance for legal reasons," Gabrielle Federici, a senior English and creative writing major said. "It's a paradox that if you have to go home for medical reasons, you might not have medical coverage."

"My parents were freaking out because my medical bills were so high," she said. "They did not know if they could pay for it if I wasn't covered."

Zach Zelter, a senior English major, said he thought there should be an adjustment period until graduating seniors get settled and find a source of employment.

"Until I get a job, I have to buy health insurance and it sucks," he said.

There are certain requirements for students to be covered under an insurance policy, said Maggie D., a representative of UnitedHealthcare Student Resources who for legal reasons chose not to give her full name.

"After graduation you no longer meet the eligibility requirements for some insurance policies," she said. "In order to remain under some insurance policies, a student must actively attend classes for a certain number of days and have a certain number of credit hours."

Usually, she added, a student graduates and gets a job that allows them to pay insurance through an employer. Knowledge of family health history is also important when applying for health insurance. "Health risk factors can be passed on genetically and these risks need to be considered while selecting the appropriate plan," Vogely said.

Vogely advised students to have a discussion with their parents before selecting a health insurance policy. "Your parents have been dealing with insurance issues for a long time and probably have knowledge about them."

If students find a job that covers health insurance they may be set, Vogely said.

"Some companies will cover only some health expenses," she said. "An example is that some companies will cover medical but not dental."

Women also have the option of going to Planned Parenthood if they do not have full health insurance coverage.

"They provide women with some basic gynecological services such as contraception, basic testing and wellness needs, such as Pap smears," Vogely said. "This service is a great option for women who may not be employed to get some of the services they need."

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