You have finally climbed the mountaintop and are about to graduate from college. You’re going to walk across that stage, grab that diploma and begin the rest of your life. Congratulations to the Class of 2018!

But life can be complicated, and it is imperative to have the important things—like health—covered. College graduation often means coming off a school-sponsored health plan, or turning 26 years old, the limit for when you can remain on your parents’ health plan. Some college grads may even be getting married and entering a new phase of life.

“Congratulations, graduates, for everything you have achieved, and as you prepare to move onto the next stage of your life, ask yourself: ‘What am I doing for health care?’” said Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee. “If you’re leaving your health coverage behind when you graduate from college, then you may be eligible to enroll through Covered California’s special-enrollment period. Taking care of your health gives you the freedom to pursue your dreams.”

Graduating and thus losing your coverage, turning 26, coming off of your parents’ health plans, and getting married are all scenarios that might make you eligible for special enrollment through Covered California, the agency that administers the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in California. There are currently more than 250,000 Californians between the ages of 19 and 29 enrolled in a plan through Covered California, and they are receiving affordable, name-brand health insurance coverage.

The following circumstances are among the more common reasons individuals become eligible for Covered California’s special enrollment:

-They lose their health coverage because they have lost or changed jobs

-They get married or enter a domestic partnership

-They have a baby, adopt a child or place a child for adoption or in foster care

-They move and gain access to new Covered California health insurance plans that were not available where they previously lived

-They turn 26 years old

-They become a citizen, a US national or lawfully present individual

If you meet these circumstances, you are eligible to get health insurance coverage and join your fellow Californians in having one less thing to worry about.

Make sure you take advantage of the financial help available to you and your family. During the recently completed open-enrollment period, the 85 percent of Covered California enrollees who receive subsidies saw their cost of coverage drop 11 percent in 2018 over the previous year. Nearly 60 percent of subsidy-eligible enrollees have access to Silver coverage for less than $100 per month, and 74 percent can purchase Bronze coverage for less than $10 per month. That is less than what some people pay for their cell phone bill.

For more information on special-enrollment rules, visit http://www.CoveredCA.com/individuals-and-families/getting-covered/special-enrollment.

Those who qualify for Medi-Cal may enroll through Covered California year round.

Eligible consumers who are interested in signing up should go to www.CoveredCA.com where they can get help to enroll. They can explore their options and find out if they qualify for financial help by using the Shop and Compare Tool. They can also get free and confidential enrollment assistance by visiting www.coveredca.com/find-help/ and searching among 800 storefronts statewide, or more than 17,000 certified enrollees who can assist consumers in understanding their choices and enrolling, including individuals who can assist in other languages. In addition, consumers can reach the Covered California service center to enroll by calling 800-300-1506.

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