A few months back, I had a small accident. It isn’t something I could recreate, even if you offered me a ton of money. I had just moved and there were boxes everywhere. There was a large, metal decorative wall-hanging on the floor. I was trying to get out the door as quickly as possible.

The end result? A sizeable gash in my leg, requiring six stitches and three trips to urgent care.

It was really unpleasant — and my first experience getting stitches. But I was also very lucky. I have health insurance, which covered the doctor’s visit and stitches. Without insurance, my accident could have caused some serious damage to my pocketbook. With insurance, it only cost me my time (and a small co-pay.)

nwlc_health_careIt’s easy for young people, who are generally healthy, to view health insurance coverage as unnecessary. But that is far from the truth — my little adventure at urgent care is proof.

So since today is National Youth Enrollment Day, here are a few things that young women should know about health insurance coverage before they #GetCovered:

  1. Open enrollment ends January 31, 2016.  This is the last day you can enroll for coverage this year. So get covered before it’s too late!
  2. If your parents have or are offered family coverage, you can be added to their plan and stay covered until you turn 26.
  3. No-cost preventive services include things like birth control, STI testing, well woman visits, and much more. This means that you get those critical services without any additional out-of-pocket costs, like co-pays or deductibles.
  4. Health insurance companies must offer you coverage, even if you have a pre-existing condition.
  5. You will have to pay a fine if you don’t have health coverage. (For 2016, that’s $695 for uninsured adults!) There are different ways you can get the required health coverage: through an employer, through healthcare.gov, and through Medicaid, to name a few options.
  6. If you are worried about the cost of health insurance, you may qualify for financial help with your monthly premium (depending on your income and family size). You may also get help with things like deductibles, copays, and coinsurance.
  7. You should visit healthcare.gov to check out specific plans, what benefits they offer, and how much they cost. (You can also find out if you’re eligible for financial assistance.)

For more information on how to navigate the health insurance Marketplace, check out: “We’ve Got You Covered: What You Need to Know for Open Enrollment”