By Mona Shand, Michigan News Connection
Graduation, marriage and the birth of a child are all major milestones, but many may not realize those significant life events can also open the door to the federal health insurance marketplace, even though the open-enrollment period closed on March 31st. Michigan State University graduate student Nik Koehler decided the best 26th birthday present he could give himself was to purchase health insurance on the federal marketplace.
“When you turn 26 you get kicked off of your parents’ plans, and you never know what’s going to happen,” says Koehler. “Why risk putting yourself into a ton of debt?”
Along with turning 26, the Affordable Care Act allows consumers who experience certain qualifying life events to still enroll in new health coverage. Those events include graduating and losing access to student health plans, moving outside their coverage area after graduation, marriage, birth, adoption or certain changes to income.
Koehler says he hopes many of his friends and classmates will realize they are not invincible, and see the value investing in their health insurance now, rather than paying a penalty or taking the chance of waiting until the next open-enrollment period in November.
“It’s something that I’ve started thinking about recently,” says Koehler. “I would just say to stay insured. You’re risking more. You’re risking losing more money.”
A full list of qualifying life events and more information on the special enrollment period is available at the healthcare.gov website.