12 million young adults live one step away from a medical bill bigger than any student loan.

Over 12 million young adults go without health coverage. And this can translate into huge medical bills that take a bite out of your budget.

Unfortunately for college grads, most universities don't offer courses in health insurance.

When you're choosing job offers, the kind of health benefits you can get should be a factor in your decision. Why?

Why pay for health insurance? After all, it's just another expense to figure into that monthly budget, right? Wrong. Think of it as a safety net—a way of making sure you get the care you need, when you need it.

Need convincing?

Consider what it costs to see a health care provider for routine exams when you don't have insurance:

  • Eye exam glasses: $250
  • Annual gynocological Exam: $300
  • Flu bug (doctor visit/medicine): $100
  • Dental cleaning/X-rays: $180

If you think these costs are high, consider that treating car accidents, broken limbs, serious illnesses, or other medical emergencies can cost tens of thousands of dollars. In fact, one in four Americans who files for bankruptcy cites unmanageable medical bills as the reason.

What can you do?

  1. Talk to your parents about their insurance. As a college student you were probably covered on your parents' plan. But most plans have a cut-off date. Find out soon!
  2. Check out COBRA. What is it? A temporary form of health insurance that mimics the benefits you received under your current policy and can continue for up to 18 months. Note: You have to make the first payment within 45 days of the time your previous coverage ended.
  3. Find out about temporary insurance plans. Macalester Health & Wellness Center has some examples to get you started.
  4. Look into using an insurance agent. Some insurance agents can help you find a plan that meets your needs and can act as your advocate.
  5. Check out the web. Many of the large insurance companies have information on their plans posted on the web.