“I’m 22 and about to graduate from college. It’s time to enter the real world, and I need a job.” These were the thoughts that continuously plagued my mind throughout my senior year at the University of Mississippi, more affectionately known as Ole Miss. Unlike many college stories, this one doesn’t involve parties; instead it involves health insurance –and the struggle to find coverage once I entered the real world.
Let’s start from the beginning. Once I graduated, searching for jobs became very strenuous, time-consuming, and exhausting. In addition to the stressful job search, many graduate school programs, especially the most prestigious ones, require work experience. I thought that I was a good candidate for jobs and graduate schools. In college, I thought I had prepared for this step by maintaining good grades while balancing participation in extra-curricular activities. After graduating, I immediately realized that so many graduates followed this same “textbook” formula to enter graduate school or the job market. With more competition in the job market and graduate school admissions, I became very fearful about what I would do after graduation.
At the same time, my parents continuously talked about all of the new responsibilities I could soon expect and the new bills I would find in my mailbox. One of those new responsibilities was health insurance.
I wanted a job with coverage, but unfortunately, I ran into some bumps in the road along the way. It turns out many jobs just don’t offer health insurance. I wanted a job that reflected my interests and passion, but none of those opportunities seemed to offer coverage. I didn’t want to forgo my career interests just because of health insurance, but that viewpoint conflicted with my parents’. I wanted a job in the field I have dreamed about working in, but they were concerned about the bigger picture, asking, “What are you going to do if you are sick, or what happens if you are in an accident?”
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, we have the answers to those questions. I can now stay on my parents’ insurance plan until I’m 26. And there are millions of other recent graduates that can take advantage of this provision, too.
Having this opportunity allows me to pursue my dreams while giving my parents peace of mind. This means that I am able to strategically plan how I will achieve life goals without the burden of wondering how I will remain covered. For a young adult, fresh out of college and starting my career, this provision relieves pressure on me while I set out to navigate the “real world.”
For me, it’s a recipe for success.