Navigating your healthcare after graduation

Dear Graduating Seniors,

As you prepare to embark on the next chapter of your journey beyond the College of the Holy Cross, it’s important to consider how you’ll continue to prioritize your health and well-being in the years ahead. Transitioning from the safety net of campus healthcare to navigating the broader healthcare landscape can seem daunting, but being prepared and knowing the steps can make it easier. The Health Services department is here to provide you with guidance and resources to ensure a smooth transition to accessing healthcare after graduation.

Securing Health Insurance

One of the most crucial steps in maintaining access to healthcare after graduation is securing health insurance coverage. Whether you’re transitioning to a new job, pursuing further education, or exploring other opportunities, it’s important to understand your options for obtaining coverage. Many graduates may be eligible to stay on their parents’ insurance plans until the age of 26, while others may need to explore individual plans through the Health Insurance Marketplace or employer-sponsored coverage. Check in with your family and your current health insurance plan to see what your options will be. The sooner you start looking into this the better to insure you will not be without health insurance.

Finding a Primary Care Provider

Establishing a relationship with a primary care provider (PCP) is essential for maintaining your health and well-being in the long term. Your PCP will serve as your main point of contact for routine check-ups, preventive screenings, and managing any chronic conditions. If you are currently still under your pediatrician at home, it may be time to switch to an adult medicine provider as your PCP.  Your current PCP may be able to suggest one for you or you can look on your health insurance’s website for providers in your area that are accepting new patients.  As you transition to life after graduation, we encourage you to research and identify potential PCPs in your area who align with your healthcare needs and preferences. There are many options for providers out there so take time to research what is they best fit for you. Across the country there have been recent challenges in finding PCPs that are accepting new patients as well as long waitlists for initial appointments with a new provider. If you will need a new provider after graduation, now is the time to find one and book your next appointment as there could be a several month wait. 

Female Health After Graduation

As you prepare to graduate college and embark on new adventures, it’s crucial to prioritize your health, including your reproductive well-being. Finding a trusted gynecologist (GYN) for continuity of care is important, from contraception to regular screenings and addressing any concerns or issues that may arise.  This is especially pertinent to address now if you are on a contraceptives for medical reasons that will require a refill after graduation. Health Services cannot prescribe any medication refills after your graduation date.  Establishing a relationship with a GYN now ensures seamless and consistent care as you transition into post-grad life. It’s an investment in your long-term health and well-being, providing you with the support and guidance you need as you embark on this next chapter of your life.

Advocating for Your Health

As you navigate the healthcare system as an independent adult, it’s important to become your own advocate and take an active role in managing your health. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, seek second opinions, and voice your concerns during medical appointments. Be proactive about scheduling preventive screenings and vaccinations, and keep track of your medical history and any medications you may be taking. Keep a “Health File” in your Google Drive to keep track of medical and insurance documentation including copies of physicals and immunizations as you may need these documents accessible as you apply for ongoing education and career positions.  Contact Health Services now if you would like a copy of your health record.

Being a Smart Healthcare Consumer

Navigating the complexities of the healthcare system can be overwhelming, but with the right knowledge and resources, you can become a savvy healthcare consumer. Take the time to educate yourself about your health insurance coverage, including understanding your benefits, copayments, and deductibles. Compare costs and quality ratings when choosing healthcare providers and services, and don’t hesitate to explore telemedicine options for convenient and accessible care.

One last reminder that Health Services cannot prescribe medications or provide refills on previously prescribed medications after your graduation date so it is imperative that you have a provider outside of Health Services to continue your care.

As you prepare to graduate from the College of the Holy Cross and transition to life beyond campus, remember that prioritizing your health and well-being is an essential part of your journey. By taking proactive steps to secure health insurance, find a primary care provider, advocate for your health, and become a smart healthcare consumer, you can ensure that you have access to the care and support you need to thrive in the years ahead. Remember, our Health Services department is here to support you as you navigate this exciting new chapter in your life so do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have questions.

Kristin Gauthier RN, our Public Health Nurse can help answer any questions you may have on this topic and can be reached at kgauthier@holycross.edu

Wishing you continued health and success,

Holy Cross Health Services

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