Short-Term Health Insurance
February 20, 2009 7:17 PM   Subscribe

Looking for health insurance. I'm off my parents' plan in a few months and confused/overwhelmed.

I'm 21 years old, female, and about to be a recent college graduate whose state of residence is NY. I have no major health problems/pre-existing conditions, don't smoke, and am in reasonably good physical condition. I get insurance now through my dad's job (coverage through BCBS, if that matters) but that expires after graduation and there is no grace period afterward. I also can't get coverage post-graduation through my college.

I'm anticipating needing insurance for 3 or 4 months and I've read up on short-term coverage through the old mefi posts and google results but either the coverage suggested to others isn't available to NY residents or ER visits are limited to 1 per year (or is that typical?). I'm trying to find COBRA alternatives, too.

A couple last things- I need insurance with excellent out-of-network coverage as I will be crossing the USA at least three times in the 3-4 months. I'm new to looking for health insurance, but I think low ER copays are a primary consideration.

Where can I go to compare coverage? Do I have to pick insurance companies' websites and do my own comparison legwork or is there some kind of aggregation/clearinghouse service? Does anyone have suggestions or advice?

posted by thewestinggame to Health & Fitness (5 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I would recommend reading this.
posted by fructose at 7:27 PM on February 20, 2009

I did this for 3 months last year. I got a cheap plan through Medica (this one specifically. It ran about $60/month for a 22 year old healthy female.

Mainly, I tried to get all my major appointments in before losing insurance (doctor, gyn, optometrist, dentist, etc). Then I also knew that if some major disaster (god forbid) were to occur, my parents would be willing and able to help me out financially with anything my insurance didn't cover. It was better than not having insurance at all, but wasn't too expensive.

Good luck!
posted by JannaK at 8:51 PM on February 20, 2009

First go to your college health center (even though you currently don't use their insurance). Tell them more or less what you said here (that you're graduating and need some coverage while traveling until you get a job). They will put you in touch with an insurance broker. This person will help you find a plan to suit your needs.

I was in a similar boat after leaving school last year. I needed 3 months of coverage between graduating and my new job. I told the broker that I just need to be covered for ER type emergencies. She gave me about 8 different options. I took a higher copay on doctor visits (which I did not end up using). It was a ~$350 for the entire period.

You can lower your premium if you opt for a higher deductible. COBRA (in my limited experience) will be way more expensive.
posted by special-k at 9:39 PM on February 20, 2009

I was in the same situation a year ago. Please make sure you're actually covered until graduation. I was under my parent's blue cross plan until my 22nd birthday at 12:01am, which was a month before graduation (and right in the middle of project/final hell).

I ended up going with Aetna. They're a PPO, so no network to worry about. My monthly payment is high, and about $80 more than I was originally quoted because I have asthma, which I control with several meds, though I'm otherwise healthy-- no hospitalizations or anything. *grumbles, stupid lungs*

One thing that I did look into was GradMed, which like most short term insurance will keep you from going bankrupt if you get hit by a bus or cancer, but not a whole lot else. It sounds like you might be alright getting a policy like that. I was very glad I did not end up using them, as I'm still searching for a full time job. And a full time job with health insurance is probably even further off.

Mostly what I found was that calling up insurance agents helped. They want to be nice to you, but don't let yourself be pressured by a sales pitch. Also know that it may take a week to get a finalized quote, and policy you can sign. Give yourself plenty of time in advance, and feel free to get several quotes.
posted by fontophilic at 9:49 PM on February 20, 2009

Contact an independent insurance broker like this one. They can guide you through various products, quite affordable. My son, in exactly your situation, found a BCBS policy for $89 per month (high deductible, co-pay). (more via MeMail)
posted by nax at 10:13 AM on February 21, 2009

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