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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

If your child works but his or her employer doesn't offer health benefits, your child can buy a health plan on an insurance Marketplace. The Marketplace is a website set up in each state.

Your child can use the Marketplace website to find out if he or she qualifies for tax credits to help pay for insurance premiums. Your child can also learn if he or she is eligible for low-cost care through Medicaid.