New Options for Health Insurance Coverage After Peace Corps Service

[The Peace Corps posted on December 13, 2013 this news.]peace-corps-office

The Peace Corps is committed to the health of all Volunteers. Like millions of Americans, returned Peace Corps Volunteers will now have new options for high-quality, affordable health care after their service through the Affordable Care Act.

Since the mid-1990s, Peace Corps has made health insurance available to returned Peace Corps Volunteers and paid the first month’s premium under a program currently called AfterCorps. AfterCorps provides limited benefit coverage intended to help provide a transition period after service. This won’t change: The Peace Corps will continue to pay for the first month of limited health insurance after Peace Corps service for returning Volunteers, at no cost to them.

Following the first month of Peace Corps-paid insurance, Volunteers who leave service on or after January 1, 2014, will have the option to buy up to two additional months of AfterCorps coverage. Following the first month of Peace Corps-paid insurance, volunteers who end their service before Jan. 1, 2014, will have the option to purchase additional AfterCorps coverage through March 31, 2014. Returned Peace Corps Volunteers have typically relied on AfterCorps for transitional coverage, and they can continue to do so while they explore new options now available.

Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies can no longer deny coverage or charge more because of a pre-existing condition, or not cover the costs of care associated with a particular health condition.

To ensure that Volunteers were able to get the care they needed as they transitioned to their next steps after their service, Volunteers have had the option to purchase up to 18 additional months of AfterCorps’ limited benefit health insurance coverage. However, like all Americans, returning Volunteers can now access comprehensive, affordable, high-quality insurance in a variety of ways under the Affordable Care Act.

They can do this through the Health Insurance Marketplace at HealthCare.gov, where they may be eligible for financial assistance; under their parents’ coverage plan if the returned Volunteer is under 26 years old; or through Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance provided by an employer or school.

Before closing service, Volunteers will now receive information and resources to help them access their choice of insurance coverage after the end of their AfterCorps coverage.

There will be no change to the health care Volunteers receive during their service through their Peace Corps medical officers.

Read Frequently Asked Questions to learn more.

Still have questions? If you’re a currently serving Volunteer, you can talk with your country director or PCMO. If you’re a returned Volunteer, you can contact the Peace Corps Post Service Unit at psu@peacecorps.gov.