Health Care Act

Toss the cap, raise a glass, then check health insurance

Johnson C. Smith University’s 2014 graduates celebrate.
Johnson C. Smith University’s 2014 graduates celebrate.

Health insurance probably isn’t top-of-mind for graduating college students, but it’s one of those adult responsibilities that lurks after the caps and gowns come off.

The lucky grads who have lined up jobs with coverage can move on to more exciting things. But the rest need to remember that the Affordable Care Act levies penalties for failing to get insurance – and nobody wants to face a fee of $325 or 2 percent of annual income at tax time next year.

Get Covered America offers these tips for college graduates:

If you have a parent with workplace coverage, you can probably get on (or stay on) that policy until you turn 26.

If that’s not an option, graduation and/or a move may trigger a chance to enroll for subsidized insurance through Check out the section on special enrollment periods to see if you qualify. If your income is modest and/or you’re willing to gamble that you won’t have a lot of medical expenses, you may be able to get covered for a small monthly payment.

This stuff is complicated, so it’s smart to get help. In North Carolina, call 855-733-3711 or visit to make a free appointment. In South Carolina, In South Carolina, call 888-998-4646 or visit

Helms: 704-358-5033;

Twitter: @anndosshelms. This blog post is done in collaboration with Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation.