Unemployed after college without health insurance? Here's what to do

A friend who recently graduated from college explained his problem to me: He doesn't have a job and no longer qualifies for his parents' insurance plans.

So now, in addition to the difficulty of making student loan payments without any money, he doesn't have health insurance. Unfortunately, his situation is not rare: a report from the Commonwealth Fund found that 34% of college graduates spends some time without health insurance in the year after graduation -- a roll of the dice that puts a third of recent grads one medical emergency away from financial ruin at best and a a lack of access to needed health care at worstt.

But what can be done? Without a full-time job in most cases, students will have to cough up their own cash to get covered -- and without a full-time job, that's not so easy.

Licensed insurance counselor Bruce Finsilver suggests that recent grads check with their state about their eligibility for Medicaid, which varies from state to state. If that doesn't work, the next best bet may be high deductible plans, which are also known as catastrophic insurance policies. Finsilver told me in an email that these policies keep premiums down. "Many of these plans offer a limited number of doctor office visits that are not subject to the deductible," he added.