Health Insurance Guide: Navigating Coverage in Your 20s

Georgia Lee Hussey, the chief executive of Modernist Financial, a planning firm in Portland, Ore., that helps clients make financial decisions aligned with their progressive values, noted that some young people who are working as independent contractors or interns may qualify for Medicaid. She said it was important for young adults to aim for financial independence, if possible.

“If you have the means, get your own health care coverage,” Ms. Hussey said.

Conversations about financial decisions like health insurance can provoke tension between parents and grandparents and their children, sometimes because of generational differences. Ms. Hussey said people should focus on cultivating understanding and empathy when sensitive issues arise.

“What we don’t talk about as often as I would like is the financial realities for younger folks and the changing expectations,” Ms. Hussey said. “There’s a place for compassion between generations and understanding between generations.”

And it helps to remember that everyone has unique health needs that factor into making the right decision about insurance.

“There’s really no one size fits all, especially when it comes to something as sensitive as health care,” said Noah Damsky, a co-founder of Marina Wealth Advisors in Los Angeles.

A good place to get started, though, is educating yourself on health insurance vocabulary. Alexis Plicque, who recently went from being insured under two plans at once, to being covered by only her employer’s plan, said navigating insurance for the first time was a challenge — and it felt like a stride into adulthood.

“I really am paying for my own stuff now,” she said. “It’s kind of crazy.”

Ms. Plicque, who lives in Jacksonville, Fla., added that she leaned on her parents to teach her about terms like deductibles and co-pays (a co-pay is the fee you pay for a doctor visit or procedure after insurance). “A lot of it is very dependent on how much you want to pay per month and what your plan covers and what your employer will give you, so it’s not something you can just Google and figure it out on your own,” she said.

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