I'm Covered Stories: For This 26-er, Getting Insured Was a "No-brainer"

"Playing hockey keeps me balanced and relaxed. Insurance gives me peace of mind." - Amanda WaddleEd. note: This blog post is cross-posted from the hhs.gov Healthcare Blog. The original post date was July 29, 2014. Read the original post.

Although Amanda Waddle comes heavily padded when she takes to the ice as goalie for her hockey league, that doesn't mean she can't get hurt. Hockey players, she told me, have a lot of "knee issues," and she and her husband Brian, another hockey enthusiast, were concerned that a serious injury could swamp them with medical bills.

Amanda is a graduate student in speech pathology and Brian is a part-time statistician with the Dallas Stars hockey team and Fox Sports Southwest, as well as a waiter. They are both on the path to fulfilling careers, but neither could afford health insurance.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, however, Amanda was one of the more than 3 million young adults who were able to be covered by their parents' health insurance plans until they turned 26. For Amanda, this meant the freedom to pursue a master's degree without worrying about insurance.

"I was in college and I couldn't afford it," Amanda told me.

When she aged off her parent's plan on her 26th birthday last November, going without coverage wasn't an option she was willing to consider.

With the opening of the Health Insurance Marketplace, Amanda and Brian were able to find affordable, quality health insurance of their own, effective January 1. They chose a plan and qualified for assistance through the Marketplace, paying only $105 per month.

Coverage came just in time. On February 1, while skating out as a defenseman for one of her teams, she went feet-first into the boards, injuring her right knee. She had to get an expensive MRI test, but it was covered by her plan.

"It's way cheaper to have insurance. It seems like a no-brainer to me. MRIs can be expensive," Amanda said.

"Playing hockey keeps me balanced and relaxed. Insurance gives me peace of mind."

Amanda is spending the summer focusing on finishing her degree, but then she plans to schedule some preventive services with her doctor, at no additional cost, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. One important service she wants is a genetic risk assessment for breast cancer since there's a history of breast cancer in her family.

If you're on your parent's plan and about to age off, you may qualify to sign up for your own plan through the Marketplace now before open enrollment begins again in November. Other life events that may make you eligible for a special enrollment period include getting married, moving to another area, or losing job-based insurance.

Check out your options now and follow #BornIn88 for more information about making the transition from your parents' plan to your own.