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Money Buzz 06/05

Three ways to insure your recent graduate

Shopping for a graduation gift? At a time when fees for a one-day hospital stay can run $3,000, health insurance may be your best bet. Nearly half of high school grads who don't go on to college and 38 percent of college grads are uninsured at some point during their first year after graduation, according to a 2004 report from The Commonwealth Fund, a New York City-based private foundation supporting independent health research.

"Full-time students can usually get coverage under their parents' employer policies," explains Sara Collins, senior program officer at The Commonwealth Fund. "But when young adults leave school, they may be unemployed for a period [of time] or find temporary jobs that don't come with benefits."

Fortunately, there are options parents of graduating students can pursue, including:

  • Dependent coverage: Company policies or state mandates enable some graduates to extend coverage under their parents' policies by picking up the premium cost--provided they apply within 60 days of graduation.
  • University health plans: While student plans typically expire a month or two after college graduation, students can often extend policies for several months to a year by contacting their school's health administrator within 30 days of graduation.
  • Individual student policies: Students who purchase student health policies offered by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Assurant Health, and Chickering Group can typically stay on the plans until age 30.

Credit and debit card payments under $5 totaled

$13.5 billion

in 2004, more than triple 2000's figures.
Statistic Source:


of businesses with fewer than 500 employees outsource their payrolls.
Statistic Source: American Payroll Association

Jennifer Pellet is a New York City freelance writer specializing in business and finance.

This story appears in the June 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »