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A Guide to Health Insurance for New Univeristy Graduates in Manitoba & Canada

New graduates celebrating after graduation ceremony
April 15, 2022
Updated: January 6, 2024


As a student, you never had to worry about health insurance. You were automatically covered by either your school’s plan or your parents.

But now that you’re graduating, that’s all going to change fast! Because any student coverage you have ends the moment you graduate. And you stop qualifying for your parents’ plan the second you turn 26.

This is why, as a new grad in Canada, it’s really important to understand your options for health insurance!

We know the idea of purchasing your own health insurance now might seem intimidating, but it’s actually pretty simple. And locking it in early, while you’re healthy, could set you up to have access to affordable health and dental care for the rest of your life.

Let’s get into it.

What New College Grads Need To Know About Health Insurance

Congratulations! You’ve finished your schooling and you’re ready to get out into the working world. But as exciting as the present is, it’s important to look out for future you, too. We know this may not always be the most fun thing to do—especially because you just spent two or more years looking forward! But trust us when we say you’ll thank yourself later. 

One way to look out for your future self is to register for your own health insurance plan. Why? Well, there’s a good chance that your current health coverage cuts off as soon as your student status changes. Using your parents’ plan? That’ll end as soon as you walk across the stage, too! (Typically you only qualify as a dependent under your parents’ plan if you’re in school full-time and under 25—but check your parents’ plan for specifics as policies do vary.)

4 Reasons Not To Wait For Employee or Group Health Insurance

To save money, some new grads skip the “get health insurance” step and instead wait until they get a full-time job with a group health and dental plan. But we don’t recommend this for you.

Here’s why:

#1 Not All Jobs and Titles Come With Health Insurance

Because you may not find yourself in a full-time position—even in a role where a group plan is offered—right away. Many employers put limitations around their health insurance where the part-time, contract and brand-new employees have different or no access to benefits.

#2 Health Insurance Isn’t One-Size-Fits-All

Another con? Your future employer may only offer basic health insurance or a group health plan that doesn’t line up with your needs. And if this is the case for you, instead of saving you money, putting off buying health insurance will only leave you with costly bills you thought were covered—but are now coming out of your pocket.

#3 You Could Need Coverage While You Wait

We all like to think we’re indestructible, but one of the not-so-fun realities of life is that things pop up when we least expect them. Waiting to get covered could leave you in a lurch when you need your insurance the most. So at the very least, it’s worth looking into temporary coverage options!

#4 Insurance Is Cheapest While You’re Healthy

If affordable healthcare is a concern for you, lock in your insurance while you’re young and healthy! A major factor when it comes to determining your monthly rates and eligibility is your current health status and whether or not you have any existing conditions. If you’re currently healthy, getting coverage now allows you to lock in lower rates and ensure your insurability in the future—even if you get sick down the road.

New Grad Health Insurance FAQs

Every policy is different, and every new grad’s situation is, too. We’re answering some nitty-gritty FAQs to get you the information you need most:

Every policy is a bit different, but typically, no. Most students qualify as a dependent under their parents’ insurance plan while they’re in school full-time and 25 or younger. In that case, once you A) finish school or B) celebrate your 26th birthday, you’re no longer covered under their plans. The same typically goes for any insurance policies offered through post-secondary education institutions.

Most plans cover adult children until they turn 25. But be sure to check with your parents’ specific plan, as every policy is different!

Most insurance providers stop classifying you as a dependant after the age of 25. Plan for the fact that you’ll be losing coverage the moment you turn 26!

Once again, specific dependant coverage changes policy to policy. Most often, though, as long as you’re a full-time student and 25 years or younger, you should be eligible for coverage.

No, not typically. But the good news is that it’s super beneficial to buy your own insurance while you’re young and healthy! Premiums will be lower, you’re less likely to face exclusions, you’ll develop stronger financial and spending habits, and you’ll feel really good knowing you’re covered thanks to you. So even though securing health insurance is an extra to-do right now, try to see it as a good thing! Something you’re doing for future you.

So You’re Off Your Parents’ Health Insurance…Now What?!

In Canada, most new grads are only covered by their parents’ insurance until they turn 25.

If you’re just realizing this now, you might be a little stressed. Because while being off your parent’s insurance can give you a sense of freedom, it also opens the door for A LOT of questions and unknowns.

That’s why we created a free Guide To Insurance For Manitobans in their 20s and 30s for young adults like you! In this simple, easy-to-read guide, we break down all the insurance policies that we recommend you take advantage of while you’re young and healthy so you can capitalize on better premiums, have more choices, get better spending habits, and set yourself up for success.

Health Insurance Plans & Options For New Graduates

There are health insurance options tailored to every new graduate’s budget and lifestyle. Sometimes there are even additional savings and discounts available for you as a new grad! So even though you might shop around a little, rest assured that there’s a plan out there that’s perfect for you.

Health Insurance Coverage New Grads Should Look Into

A personal health plan that covers your medical and dental needs is an excellent first start. But if you can, this is also a fantastic time to look into additional life and Critical Illness plans (because again, the earlier you buy, typically the better your coverage and the cheaper your rates will be!). Remember, your health can change at any time, so getting insurance down the road isn’t always a sure thing.

Related: The Value of Critical Illness Insurance

Association Plans

Depending on your field of study, association plans may be available once you graduate. These help you save money just by being associated with a particular group. Typically, association plans are tailored to new graduates in the fields of medicine, law, and pharmacy, but they can include other associations too, so it’s always best to ask. 

Tip: Look into association plans before you graduate if you can, to be sure you don’t miss out on any potential savings!

Educated, Insured & Ready To Get After It

👆 This will be you once we get your new health insurance! 

We get it. Looking into and purchasing health insurance is a little intimidating. And, it’s not exactly one of the highlight-reel moments of getting out into the real world! We also get that you’re in a time of your life where a lot of new things are being thrown at you—many of them stressful.

We want to help you make solid decisions now that carry you through your first few years in the workforce and beyond. Just imagine how good it will feel to know you’re not only covered—but that you’re covered by insurance you found, bought, and paid for yourself!

We’re here to help you make it happen!