How to Choose a Plan
If your 19- to 26-year-old is trying to decide which insurance plan to go with -- yours or one offered by your child's job -- take a close look at the type of plan being offered. Here are some options you might have to think about:
HMO. These letters stand for health maintenance organization. If your child picks an HMO, he or she will need to see a doctor in the HMO's network. If your child needs to see a specialist, your child will need a referral from a primary care doctor. On the other hand, medical bills with an HMO are usually lower than with other types of plans.
PPO. These letters stand for preferred provider organization. In this type of plan, your child can see a doctor that's in or out of the plan's network. But your child will pay more if the doctor is out of network.
POS. This stands for point of service. These plans will usually require that your child choose a doctor who is in network. But the plans may also offer the option of seeing specialists who are out of network for a higher cost.
You and your child should also think about some of these issues:
- What types of services the plans cover and your need for these services (prescriptions, dental, and vision care, for example)
- How much each plan will cost, including deductibles
- Whether your child's doctors are in the plan's network
Other Insurance Options
Even if you don't have health insurance, your 19- to 26-year-old still has options. Starting in 2014, if your child makes less than $15,000 a year, they may be eligible for coverage through Medicaid.
If your child works but his or her employer doesn't offer benefits, starting in 2014 your child will be able to buy insurance through the new health insurance exchanges that are being set up under the health reform law. And if your child earns less than $43,000, he or she can get tax credits to help pay for insurance.