Many college graduates will have to make decisions about their health coverage for the first time as they graduate from various colleges. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. IF YOU ARE UNDER 26, YOU MAY BE ABLE TO STAY ON YOUR PARENTS’ PLAN: If your parents’ plan covers children, you can be added to or kept on your parent’s health insurance policy until you turn 26 years old. You can still stay on the plan even if you are married, not living with your parents, not financially dependent on them, or eligible to enroll in your employer’s plan. If you are losing coverage when you turn 26, you may qualify for a special enrollment period to enroll in coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

  1. IF YOU CAN’T STAY ON YOUR PARENTS’ PLAN, GRADUATING FROM SCHOOL MAY QUALIFY YOU FOR SPECIAL ENROLLMENT: Finishing school may make you newly eligible to enroll via the Marketplace when the enrollment period is normally closed, if you are losing coverage or moving outside your coverage area. Your special enrollment period is available up to 60 days from when you lose coverage or move.

  1. IF YOU’RE ON A BUDGET, HEALTH INSURANCE CAN BE MORE AFFORDABLE THAN YOU THINK: Financial help is available. This year, 89% of North Carolinians who signed up got help paying for health insurance. And while every plan must cover ten essential services – medications, emergency rooms visits, preventative care, and more – there are enough plans on the Marketplace that you can find a plan that fits your budget. So you can find a plan that won’t break your bank!

  1. IF YOU DON’T GET COVERED, YOU MAY HAVE TO PAY A FINE: The fine for not being covered in 2016 is $695 per adult or 5% of your income – whichever is greater. In many cases, the fine alone is often more costly than getting covered. And the cost of the fine might not be your only worries. The average emergency room bill for something as small as a sprained ankle is $1,018—or 156 Chipotle chicken burritos. A broken arm on average costs $7,500!

  1. THERE’S LOTS OF FREE, ONE-ON-ONE HELP TO GET YOU COVERED: North Carolinians who want to find out more about their health coverage options through the Marketplace should schedule a FREE appointment to meet with an enrollment expert in their community by calling 1-855-733-3711 or schedule an appointment online at