Americorps as health insurance bridge

The Brown Daily Herald has a piece about a serious issue facing college graduates, namely the students’ loss of health insurance as they graduate and subsequently lose coverage under their school health insurance and, often, their parent’s insurance policies as well:

“Many colleges and universities require health insurance,” Jeanne Hebert, director of the University’s Office of Insurance and Risk, told The Herald in an e-mail. “If students are faced with unexpected medical expenses, they may not be able to continue their enrollment in college.”

After graduation, students no longer have access to SHIP, and most are barred from their parents’ policies when they turn 22 or cease to be full-time students. Some, like Rastelli, apply for jobs with firms that provide insurance. Others enter graduate programs, many of which have policies similar to Brown’s. But those who don’t receive insurance, and have no mandate to purchase it, face a difficult choice.

As the article notes in its last paragraph, Americorps offers a comprehensive health care plan, although it doesn’t include coverage for preexisting conditions. It’s not always the best insurance in the world – our coverage was so skimpy when I was serving my first year that we called it the ginseng and band-aid plan – but it’s better than nothing. I do know of at least one Americorps member in my group who was staying on a second year partly because of the health plan (and child care subsidies) that Americorps offers.

This is a real challenge for 20-somethings. Although health care plans can be cheap for healthy graduates, those with preexisting conditions or disabilities can face premiums that far outstrip the weight load of their fresh-out-of-grad-school earnings.

Alas, Americorps isn’t much help in these cases, but for the otherwise healthy college grad, it’s an option that can give you a year or two of breathing room while you suss out your options, decide what you’re going to do and build up your resume/experience, which will hopefully improve your chances of landing a benefits-loaded job or one that pays well enough to afford your own plan.

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3 responses to “Americorps as health insurance bridge

  1. It’s very difficult to also find providers who participate in the network. I need surgery. Can’t find both surgeon and hospital in same town, so have to go for a second rate surgeon in a town where the hospital is in the network. Seven Corners will also try to get out of paying about every bill if they can. They assume you have a pre-existing condition unless you fight to convince them otherwise. Seven Corners will also not cover regular physical exams or lab work. Ridiculous, if you ask me!

  2. I’ve gone above and beyond in my AmeriCorps position. When I severely chipped a front tooth recently, the insurance provided by AmeriCorps refused to cover the much needed crown, claiming that there was no injury to my mouth. I eat, sleep, and breathe AmeriCorps, but they can’t take care of their faithful member. When living on an $800 a month stipend, how does one pay for a $981 dental bill? You can’t and you don’t. You go without the recommended medical treatment. Thanks for taking care of me, AmeriCorps.

  3. Sorry to hear about the problems you guys are having. Unfortunately, this seems to be the nature of health insurance in general. Hopefully the changes made by the new administration will help improve these sorts of things.

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