A new identity as a “young professional” comes with expectations and responsibilities that are often unfamiliar and intimidating for graduating seniors. A job and regular income is step one; but even for soon-to-be grads with job offers in hand, there are other factors beyond salary such as retirement funding (nothing could seem farther away, but there’s absolutely no better time to start) and health insurance.
The latter need is particularly timely with health care reform becoming law just last week. Ideally, a job offer will include employer-subsidized health insurance. But what is a new grad who is still job hunting or an employed grad whose job offer didn’t include health insurance to do? The new law (effective six months from now) will allow children ages 26 and under to be covered by their parent’s plan. Indeed a great benefit for those whose post-college transition may take longer than anticipated. And while other aspects of the law will not be relevant to this year’s graduates, starting in 2014, future graduates will we be covered by the public Medicaid program if their income is under 133 percent of the federal poverty line. For those without access to employment-based insurance, insurance costs will be heavily subsidized for those earning up to 400 percent of the federal poverty line. But given the time delay before implementation, it’s important for job searching students to seriously take into consideration the entire compensation package (especially health insurance) of any job offer.
UMBC students interested in getting assistance with their current job search and/or learning more about salary negotiation and weighing job offers are invited to connect with the Career Services Center (www.careers.umbc.edu).