Is Health Insurance for College Students Available Through the Exchanges?

Health insurance for college students can be a tricky thing.  For one, health insurance plans have limits on how long a dependent child can be on their parent’s medical plan.  Second, it can be hard to find a health insurance plan that is affordable for students while they are not making much money.

Both of these issues are addressed by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), or Obamacare as many people know it.  While the law is a political hot button, college age students can benefit greatly from the legislation.

How Does Obamacare Help College Students?

Health insurance for college students is addressed in couple of ways by the Affordable Care Act.  First, the law allows dependent children to remain on their parent’s plan until the child reaches age 26.  For many people, this gets them through the college years with access to health insurance.

Second, the law provides two avenues to help pay for medical expenses  – expanded Medicaid and the health insurance exchanges, or marketplaces.  Medicaid has been expanded to include adults that make less than 133% of the poverty level.  Medicaid is administered by the states, and not all states are going to expand Medicaid, so make sure to check with your state’s eligibility.

The health insurance marketplace, then, is a great option of health insurance for college students.

Why is the Exchange Good for College Students?

If a student in college needs to purchase insurance on their own, there is a good chance that they will be making this sort of purchase for the first time.  The exchanges are online locations where available plans are laid out side-by-side to make it easy to compare the health insurance options, both by plan design and premium.  This will make the purchase easy to wade through and understand.  If the student needs assistance, they can contact customer service representatives, called navigators, to help them through the process.

But perhaps the best thing for college students is that PPACA allows for tax credits for purchases through the marketplace if the individual makes less than 400% of the poverty level.  The calculation for this credit is done online.  Since many people in school make less than this threshold, health insurance for college students is much more affordable than before the Affordable Care Act.

Like Medicaid, the exchanges are administered through the states.  Some states do not have their own exchange.  In that case, residents will go through the federal marketplace.  You can find your state’s marketplace here.

Filing Tax Returns

One thing to be aware of if a college student purchases a medical plan through the exchange is that he or she will have to file a tax return, even if there would otherwise be no reason to file.  So while health insurance for college students is available for a low cost on the exchange, make sure to actually get the credit you were promised.

The Affordable Care Act is a controversial piece of legislation.  The effects, both good and bad, will be felt for years.  But one thing for sure is that the availability and affordability of health insurance for college students was helped by PPACA.

Read More

Coins representing the cheapest health insurance options available.

5 Ideas for Cheap Health Insurance for Young Adults

Finding the cheapest health insurance options available can seem like an overwhelming task.  There are numerous insurance companies to search through as well as a long list of plan types to enroll in.

What can make the task harder is finding the time to research and sign up for the plans.  At the end of the day, though, you need to have good coverage at an affordable price.  Here are the best ways to find low cost medical insurance and the cheapest health insurance for young adults.

Short-Term Health Insurance

Between jobs, or just need to make sure you have some low-cost health coverage during a certain point in your life?  Short-term health insurance may be the best thing for you.

Short-term health insurance plans are generally less expensive than qualified major medical health plans, but they do not offer the same level of coverage and usually do not cover pre-existing conditions. They also do not cover the minimum essential coverage of Obamacare, so a short-term plan will not get you off the hook for paying the individual mandate penalty.

Having said all that, short-term plans are a really good idea if you want an inexpensive plan for a short period. Just make sure you understand – and are ok with – the fine print.

Need help finding a great short-term plan? Get a quick and easy quote here.


Medicaid is a government program that helps people with low incomes receive medical services.  Medicaid is administered by the states, and eligibility varies depending on where you live.  The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), or Obamacare as it is commonly known, expanded Medicaid, making it easier to enroll.  If Medicaid is something you think you might qualify for, check out your state’s Medicaid website.  Medicaid isn’t the cheapest health insurance, because it is not technically insurance, but it helps pay for the cost of health care needs.

Health Insurance Marketplaces

The health insurance marketplaces, or exchanges as they were first labeled, will not be the cheapest health insurance for everyone, but it can be for some people.  The Affordable Care Act provides tax credits for individuals that makes less than 400% of the federal poverty level.  The credits are graded based on income, and if you are eligible for the subsidy, the marketplaces can be great places to find cheap medical insurance.

Like Medicaid, the marketplaces are administered by the states.  However, not every state participates.  In that case, residents can use the federal exchange.  You can find your state’s exchange here.

Also, not every marketplace is the federal marketplace. There are also private marketplaces that will give you another wide range of enrollment ideas.

To view all of the marketplace options available to you in your area, both federal and non-federal, go here.

Your Parent’s Medical Plan

Another benefit of the Affordable Care Act is that young adults are able to be enrolled in their parent’s medical insurance plan until age 26.  This can be advantageous because many times there is not a huge rate increase to add a child.  If your parent(s) already have another child enrolled in the plan, you can probably be added with no additional cost.  Many group plans have an Employee + Child(ren) rate tier, meaning that a subscriber can add multiple children for the same rate.  The same goes if your parent is in an Employee + Family rate tier.

Not only could this be the cheapest health insurance option, it can also be a free health insurance option.

Catastrophic Health Insurance

You have to be careful with catastrophic health insurance.  On one hand, the premiums will be lower than a plan with lower deductibles and copays.  However, if you have a claim, you will be required to pay more out of pocket expenses.  But if you are looking to at least have some coverage, and you are lucky enough to not have many claims, catastrophic coverage might be the cheapest health insurance available.

Your Employer’s Plan

This option is not available to anyone, but if you are offered a health insurance plan by your employer, it might be the cheapest health insurance that you can get.  Employers that offer group coverage will usually subsidize the cost of the employee’s health insurance premium, many times paying 100% of the cost.  What they pay for dependents, though, is usually a much higher amount.

In addition, PPACA caps the most a company can charge a worker for the employee portion of the premium at 9.5% of the employee’s salary.  This equates to about $89 per month for a minimum wage worker that works 30 hours per week.

Health insurance costs continue to increase, but these options will help you find cheap health insurance for young adults.

Read More

Low Income Health Insurance Options Available to Young People

It is very rare for a young person to begin life after high school or college with an enormous bankroll.  As you step out on your own and start down the path to a successful career, there is a good chance you’ll start at the bottom of the salary scale.  But that doesn’t mean that you cannot find a good medical insurance plan that fits your lifestyle and budget while giving you the ability to cover the costs of your healthcare needs.  When you go out to look for plans to sign up with, check out these low income health insurance options.

Health Insurance Exchanges are Great for Those with Low Incomes

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), or as many people know it, Obamacare, created health insurance exchanges, which are online marketplaces that allow people to go on the Internet to purchase health insurance.  Available insurance plans will be easily accessible on the exchanges, and the premiums are easy to determine.

In addition, when you buy health insurance through the exchanges you might qualify for subsidies to help offset the cost of the monthly premiums and out of pocket expenses.  Eligibility for these subsidies can quickly be determined online when the insurance plan is bought.  And the lower your income, the greater the financial assistance.

The online marketplaces are run by each state, so the same insurance options will not be available in every state.  Insurers are not required to participate in each state.


Medicaid is possibly another low income health insurance option.  Medicaid provides health benefits at a very low cost.  Like the exchanges, Medicaid is administered by each state, so check out your state’s Medicaid program for eligibility.  Not all states have the same Medicaid access.

Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

If you make too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but you still need financial assistance to cover your children with health insurance, you should look into CHIP.  CHIP is a low income health insurance option that can provide your kids with quality healthcare at little or no cost.

Like the other two options listed above, CHIP is run by the states, and in most cases is administered very closely with Medicaid.

Check the Health Insurance Plan at Work

If your employer offers you health insurance, you should seriously take a look at the plan designs available and the cost of each.  PPACA sets a limit on how high employers can set the monthly contributions for their employees (or else face a steep fine).  Because of this, if you are eligible for medical benefits at work, you stand a good chance of receiving quality health insurance at a low cost.

Check Out Your Parents’ Health Insurance Plan

PPACA allows children to stay on their parents’ health insurance plan until the child reaches age 26.  If you are under this cap, and your parent is already covered by a family plan, then adding you to the plan can typically be done without an additional cost.

Increase Your Out of Pocket Liability

Out of pocket limits on health insurance plans are part of the formula that determines premiums.  The higher the out of pocket expenses, such as deductibles, the lower the premium.  If you want to be able to have coverage at a low cost, consider a plan with a high deductible or what some people would call a catastrophic plan.  It will leave you with high medical bills if you need service, but at least you’ll be able to afford the insurance to start with.

There are several ways to find quality insurance for all people, and these low income health insurance options are great places to start.

Read More

Is Free Health Insurance Available to Young People?

It can be difficult to be a young person and be on the hunt for medical insurance.  You might be a student or early in your career, and the cost of a decent plan can be more than you can afford.  Fortunately, if you fall into certain categories, there are ways to get free health insurance.  While not everyone will qualify for no cost insurance, it is worth looking into if you are having trouble paying for your medical needs.  And don’t forget that due to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), or Obamacare as many people know it, there is a tax to be paid if you do not have an insurance plan.  While the tax is small to begin with, eventually it will increase to be a significant expense.

Look at Your Parents’ Medical Plan

One of the key features of PPACA is the fact that a child can stay on their parent’s medical plan until the child reaches age 26.  If your parent has a plan, there is a chance you can be added at no extra cost, but not necessarily.  If your parent is on a plan on only covering himself or herself, then there will be a cost to add you.  Or if both of your parents are on a plan with just the two of them, then there will probably be a cost to add you.  However, if the plan that your parent has already includes another child, then adding you will most likely not add an additional premium cost.

Adding you to an existing plan can be a great way to receive free health insurance.

Check the Insurance Plan at Your Own Job

If you work at a place that offers you benefits, check the plan that you are offered at work before going elsewhere to look for free health insurance.  While most employers require a premium contribution from their employees, some provide the insurance free of charge.

Free Health Insurance on the Health Insurance Exchanges

Beginning in 2014, PPACA created state-run health insurance exchanges.  These exchanges are online marketplaces that allow the user to go on the Internet and comparison shop for the medical plan that best suits their needs.

In addition, PPACA has allowed for tax credits for low income earners if health insurance is bought through the exchange.  If you earn less than 400% of the poverty level you are eligible for this subsidy.  The lower your income, the higher the credit.  The marketplaces will be able to determine online if you are eligible and can assist in reducing the monthly premium.  If your income is low enough, you may be able to buy free health insurance.


Medicaid is a state-run program that assists low income households with medical assistance.  If health insurance is difficult to afford, check with your state Medicaid program to find out details and your eligibility.

Free health insurance is not available to everyone, but if you take the time to look around you might be able to find coverage at little or no cost.

Read More

How Much Does Health Insurance Cost a Young Adult

When you are shopping for health insurance for the first time, you will invariably ask, “how much does health insurance cost?”  This is a perfectly reasonable question.  When you buy a car, television, or any other major purchase you want to know how much it is going to cost.  And just like those things, there are a lot of variables that go into the cost of a health insurance plan.

Health Insurance Trend

One of the biggest factors that affect the cost of health insurance is medical trend.  Trend is the percent increase in health care costs.  Here is a good explanation of what causes medical trend.  A good estimation of trend is extremely important in determining how much health insurance costs.  If the trend estimation is off, premiums will be too high or too low.

Plan Design

The benefit design of an insurance plan plays a large part in how much it costs.  Just like with car insurance, a plan with a high deductible will have a lower premium than a plan with a low deductible.  The more financial risk you take upon yourself, the less you will pay in fixed monthly cost.  The same goes with a medical insurance plan.  The higher the deductible, copay, and out of pocket limits, the lower your premiums.

Age of the Individual

The age of an individual plays a big part in the cost of a health insurance plan, but not as much as it used to play.  Younger people need less health care than older people, so younger people pay less for claims.  The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), or as many people know it, Obamacare, puts a cap on how much more an older person can be charged for an insurance plan than a younger person.

Government Programs and Subsidies

Government programs and legislation provides methods to reduce the cost of health insurance for young adults.  The two big ones are Medicaid and the health insurance exchanges.


Medicaid is a program administered by the states that provides some low income earners with assistance in paying for health care.  Eligibility varies by state, so check with your state’s Medicaid office for details.

If someone makes just enough to not be eligible for Medicaid, but still needs to find a way to cover their children, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) can at least help pay for the cost of a young person’s children.

Health Insurance Exchanges

PPACA tried to simplify the answer to “how much does health insurance cost” by setting up health insurance exchanges.  Exchanges are online marketplaces where people can shop for health insurance plans side by side on an apples to apples basis.  Plan designs and premiums are plainly displayed.

However, for certain people, the premiums will not actually be what health insurance costs because of subsidies that are available to people that earn less than 4 times the poverty level.  If you fall into that category, you can receive assistance in paying for your health insurance premiums.

How much does health insurance cost is a question that people are always asking.  It is possible to find low cost health insurance.  With the exchanges and easy to use online tools, it can be easy to find out how much you owe for a medical insurance plan.

Read More