What the Affordable Care Act Means for a New Graduate

As a recent college graduate, I'm experiencing many life changes. Luckily, the Affordable Care Act will help me better transition into a life with my own career.

At the moment, to tell the truth, I am not as financially solvent as I would like to be. This is why the ACA will be so helpful. Amid all this transition, I'm able to remain on my parents’ health insurance until I am 26--and I am grateful for that. I'm currently not eligible for job-based coverage. Not having to worry about buying my own health insurance for a few more years will allow me to take a job, regardless of whether it provides good health insurance, or whether it provides any health insurance at all. This way, I can focus on getting a job that will help me reach my long-term career goals rather than basing my decision on health insurance. Of course, it could also help me avoid a potential financial disaster in the event that I become seriously injured or ill.

By 2014 (in other words, by the time I am no longer covered by my parents’ health insurance), the ACA will have implemented even more changes to make health insurance and healthcare more accessible for young adults like me. Hopefully, by that time, I will be in a better financial situation, but even if I still haven't struck it rich or found a job that offers insurance, I can get health care. One way would be through an insurance exchange, which will allow me to find health insurance at a competitive rate. Chances are, I will even be able to get tax credits to help offset the cost of health insurance.

Financial peace of mind is a big deal at this point in my life, but so is health. Ultimately, the ACA not only protects my finances, it protects my health--something I need in order to work toward my career goals. This law could not have come at a better time for me, and I know that it will also help my fellow members of the graduating class of 2012. For us, this is a graduation gift that will keep on giving.

Laura Walters is an intern with Texans Care for Children.