The One Thing Missing on Your Post-grad Checklist: Obamacare

05/18/2015 02:55 pm ET | Updated May 18, 2016

It's graduation season, which means college grads are preparing for the real world, both in their careers and personal lives. While everyone is ordering their caps and gowns, applying to jobs, continuing their education, or just planning for the future, there's one important factor that often gets overlooked: health care.

College grads have several opportunities to get health insurance so they can be protected from the unexpected as they begin their next journey. Finishing school may make you newly eligible to enroll through a plan on the Health Insurance Marketplace thanks to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Though open enrollment for the Marketplace is over, some recent graduates may qualify for a special enrollment period if they experience a qualifying life event - like losing coverage from a student plan or moving outside your coverage area. Young adults who have health insurance through their parents can stay on that plan until they turn 26. But if you were born in 1989 and will be aging out of your parents' coverage this year, you might be eligible for a special enrollment period. Those who are eligible can check out the Marketplace to find a plan that works best for their needs.

And if you're on a budget, health insurance is more affordable than you think. Four out of five people who signed up for a plan on the Marketplace this year received financial assistance reducing the cost of their plans. And almost half of young Americans can get health coverage for less than $50 a month through the Marketplace. Some can even get low or no cost insurance through year-round Medicaid enrollment. Just remember, if you don't have health insurance this year, you could face a fine on your taxes of $325 or 2% of your income, whichever is higher.

There's a lot to worry about in the real world, but being uninsured shouldn't be one of them. Having health coverage that empowers you to be more proactive about your health is all part of being a grown up. And the financial security and peace of mind it brings knowing you're protected from the unexpected will put your mind at ease, so you can focus on landing your dream job.

Learn more about how you can get covered here.