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Arkansas COBRA Insurance

Posted on: March 31st, 2012 by Cobra Insurance Guide

Arkansas COBRA Insurance

For anyone who recently lost, quit, or even retired from their job figuring out what to do next for health insurance can be a tricky decision. Moreover, COBRA insurance legislation is confusing and many times it is hard to understand what options are out there. Understanding federal COBRA insurance, Arkansas COBRA insurance, and private health insurance plans is important so that you can make a decision for your family’s health insurance and budget.

Option 1: Federal COBRA Insurance, Cost for a Family: $1000+

The first option for individuals or families looking for health insurance coverage after job loss or retirement is COBRA insurance if they meet the federal requirements. Under the federal requirements most people who worked at a company with at least 20 employees on their health insurance plan will be eligible as long as they didn’t lose their job due to gross misconduct. Under the federal COBRA insurance plan you can keep the exact same health insurance plan that you had with your employer but you must pay the full cost for it. The full cost is what you normally contributed to your health insurance plan plus anything your employer paid. For most people this is between 60-90% of the health insurance cost. On top of paying the entire premium, you also must pay a 2% administration fee. For most families this ends up being $1000 or more monthly.

Under COBRA insurance you keep the exact same health insurance plan you had when you were employed for up to 18 months in most cases. It is meant to help you in the interim and make sure you do not go without health insurance. The coverage extends to your family and other dependents who were on your health insurance plan. Furthermore it can also extend to people losing insurance due to divorce or adult children losing coverage due to age.

Option 2: Arkansas COBRA Insurance, Cost for a Family: $1000+

The second option for someone in need of health insurance after job loss is Arkansas COBRA insurance. The state of Arkansas created its own COBRA insurance program for people who don’t qualify for the federal plan. The cost of Arkansas COBRA insurance is just about the same as federal COBRA because you will be responsible for the entire premium on your own. In addition there is a 2% administration fee. Arkansas COBRA insurance normally allows you to keep your employer sponsored health insurance plan for up to 18 months.

Option 3: Private Family Insurance Plan, Cost for a Family: $400+

The last and most affordable option in most cases is choosing a private individual or family health insurance plans. These plans are offered by private companies and normally are much less expensive than COBRA for similar coverage. The reason these plans can be so much cheaper is because they are only covering your family, not everyone you work with. If you are healthy that means a lower risk for the insurance company and therefore a lower rate. Most people find they can save over $600 a month by choosing a private health insurance plan. To find out what your options might be, you can get a free health insurance quote.

Arizona COBRA Insurance

Posted on: March 26th, 2012 by Cobra Insurance Guide

For anyone living in Arizona who recently quit, lost, or even retired from their job; likely you are thinking about COBRA insurance and what role it could potentially play in your health care future. At the same time, it is likely that you are also trying to understand all your options and find the best one for you and your family. Arizona COBRA insurance may be the best option for that, but there may be other options as well that can provide similar insurance at a much lower cost.

Option 1: Federal COBRA Insurance or Arizona COBRA Insurance

Most people begin their health insurance search by considering COBRA insurance. This makes sense because it is the easiest health insurance option for most people if they qualify. Under COBRA insurance most people who work at companies with 20 or more employees, and who weren’t fired for gross misconduct, will qualify for COBRA health insurance coverage. With COBRA, the employee and their family members are able to keep the exact same health plan for a time normally up to 18 months. The major drawback to COBRA coverage is that the employee must pay for the full cost of health insurance. In most cases this is over $1000 monthly for a family of four. The cost of COBRA is that high because the employer no longer contributes and pays for some of the cost of health insurance.

In some states there are also state sponsored COBRA insurance programs for people who work at smaller companies and want COBRA. Unfortunately the state of Arizona currently does not offer an Arizona COBRA insurance plan. That means if you don’t qualify under the federal plan for COBRA, you will need to seek out alternative insurance.

Option 2: Private Health Insurance

The second option that you should consider when thinking about health insurance is private health insurance. Many people shy away from private health insurance and just sign up for COBRA because they think the price will be too high. However for healthy individuals and families, private health insurance can be much less expensive than COBRA. In fact, a healthy family of four on average saves over $600 monthly by using a private health insurance plan. To learn more about private health insurance, get a free quote and explore the available plans in your area.

The most comprehensive health insurance plans offered by companies will be individual and family plans. In addition there are also very affordable plans for people who only want to be covered for emergencies. These plans are normally known as catastrophic health insurance or high deductible health insurance. They can start as long as about $50 monthly but only cover emergencies.

Option 3: State Sponsored Health Insurance

The last place to look for health insurance after job loss is to explore government sponsored health insurance in Arizona or offered through the federal government. Many times children will qualify for these plan as well seniors. Depending on your income there may be a program available that will offer free or reduced health insurance to you and your family.

COBRA Health Insurance

Posted on: March 21st, 2012 by Cobra Insurance Guide

cobra-insurance-copaymentsCOBRA health insurance is a term that is often heard in workplace conversations, on the television, and in unemployment circles but few people can actually tell you what COBRA health insurance really is. In fact many Human Resources workers who deal with workplace health insurance daily, struggled to say much more about COBRA health insurance than it is something people can use after losing their job. COBRA health insurance actually involves a lot more than that and it is extremely important for anyone who recently lost, quit, or retired from their job to fully understand it. It can also benefit anyone going through a divorce or who will soon lose their dependent child status.

What is COBRA Health Insurance?

COBRA health insurance is a law, not an insurance plan, that was passed by the United States government in 1986 to prevent people from suddenly losing their health insurance. The law states that if they choose to employees and their families can continue to use their prior employer’s group health insurance plan for up to 18 months in most cases. The health insurance plan under COBRA health insurance will stay exactly the same but the major difference will be that the employee must pay the full cost. Normally this is at least double what the employee paid while employed since most companies subsidize health insurance costs.

Who Can Use COBRA Health Insurance?

Under the COBRA health insurance there are three conditions that must be met in order for an employee and/or their family members to qualify for COBRA – qualifying plan, qualifying event, and qualifying beneficiaries. The first condition known as qualifying plan refers to the type of group health insurance plan that the employee had while employed. In most cases the person will qualify for COBRA health if the plan covered at least 20 full time employees or their part time equivalents. The second condition, known as qualifying event, refers to why health insurance is being lost. Most people qualify for COBRA health insurance under this condition if they quit, retired from, or lost their job without serious misconduct. Spouses can also qualify if they are losing their health insurance due to death of the covered employee or divorce from the covered employee. Adult children who are losing their dependent status, normally at 26, can also qualify. The final condition, qualifying beneficiaries, refers to who is eligible to get COBRA health insurance. In most cases anyone who was covered on the plan before can be covered with COBRA.

Are There Less Expensive Alternatives to COBRA Health Insurance?

There very well be more affordable alternatives to COBRA health insurance depending on your health insurance needs. For people who are relatively healthy, private insurance plans are usually much more affordable than COBRA. In fact on average people save about 65%, or over $600 monthly, by choosing a private individual or family plan. The best way to learn about private health insurance options is to get a free quote and explore. It takes about 1 minute to get a quote and start learning what is out there.

Finding Health Insurance On Your Own

Posted on: March 19th, 2012 by Cobra Insurance Guide

Finding-Health-InsuranceFor anyone who is out of work, self employed, employed without health insurance, or in need of health insurance for any other reason, there are ways to find affordable health insurance that will provide you with the coverage you need as well as the piece of mind you want. Find health insurance on your own is a very important step to take because none of us can predict when a medical emergency may strike so we always want to be prepared. If you need to find health insurance on your own, here are some options to consider.

1.  COBRA Insurance:  COBRA insurance is a solid option for anyone who previously had health insurance with their job and meets the COBRA insurance requirements.  Most people do find that they are eligible for COBRA insurance which lets you continue your previous health insurance from your employer.  What many people don’t realize is that COBRA insurance can also be used by spouses going through a divorce who were covered under their spouse’s plan, children who no longer qualify as dependents, and even retirees.  COBRA insurance usually lasts for 18 months but in some cases can be extended for 36 months.

2.  United States Uninsured Help Line:  In the United States, the nonprofit group Foundation for Health Coverage Education is dedicated to helping people find health insurance options and understand what is available to them.  Based on your age, gender, household income, and health needs they will help you understand what plans you should consider as well as if you are eligible for state health insurance plans.  You can call them at (800) 234-1317.

3.  Independent Agents:  Athough many people are nervous and intimidated to call a private agent, mostly because we are worried we can’t trust them, sometimes they are the best place to turn.  Although they usually make a commission when they sell you insurance, they are very knowledgeable about what is available, what you will qualify for, and what options you should consider.  Also remember that just because you meet with an insurance agent does not mean you have to sign up for health insurance with them.  We always recommend getting a free health insurance quote on your own first so you know what to ask and what to look for.

4.  Preexisting Condition Plans:  In 2010 healthcare reform legislation was passed that created preexisting condition plans for people with preexisting conditions.  In the past most people found that if they has a serious condition they had no health insurance options but this is no longer the case.  You must have been without health insurance for at least 6 months to qualify for this type of plan.

5.  Healthcare.gov:  Many people like to use government websites to start their health insurance search because they believe the information is accurate and unbiased, which it is mostly.  One such site for health insurance options is Healthcare.gov which will ask you to answer a series of questions and then provide you with health insurance options from private companies.  You can also do this through EHealthInsurance and start getting health insurance quotes now.

 

 

Insurance After COBRA

Posted on: March 16th, 2012 by Cobra Insurance Guide

insurance after COBRACOBRA insurance only lasts 18 months for most people and when the end of your COBRA insurance is quickly approaching, many people begin to think about insurance after COBRA.  There are many options for insurance after COBRA but it is important to think through all the options carefully to make sure you choose the right plan for you and your family.  We always recommend starting by getting a free health insurance quote so you have a general idea of what options are out there for you and your family. Taking 5-10 minutes to fill out a quote will open your eyes to what is on the market, the price ranges, and what you should be thinking about for insurance after COBRA.

Option 1:  Private Health Insurance

Then most common insurance that people get after COBRA is private health insurance.  This is normally through a major company and there are health insurance plans of all types depending on your health needs and budget.  The most comprehensive plans available are private individual and family plans which generally offer plans that are very similar to what you had on COBRA insurance.  There are HMOs and PPOs available as well as varying levels of co-payments and deductibles depending on your needs.

The second most popular type of private health insurance plan that people get after COBRA is a short term health insurance plan.  These plans normally have high deductibles and are meant to help cover you in the short term.  These plans can last anywhere from 1 day to about 1 year and normally only cover emergencies.  They are built to help keep you covered in between jobs or other health insurance plans.

The other popular insurance after COBRA is catastrophic health insurance plans which only cover emergencies.  These plans tend to be very inexpensive and only cover medical emergencies.  The deductibles are generally very high and they do not include doctor visits or other care in most cases.  They usually are very affordable since the coverage is minimal.

Option 2:  Government Health Insurance

It is always wise to look into government health insurance as an option for insurance after COBRA.  Many times adults and especially children can be covered by government health insurance plans is your income is below a certain level.  These plans can be offered by the federal or state government.  In addition if you are at or near to retirement age, there is government health insurance you can use.

Option 3:  Health Insurance From New Employment

Finally you can look for a new job that includes health insurance.  Many people do not remember to ask about health insurance when looking at a job but it should be an important consideration.  Even if the job isn’t exactly what you are looking for in the long term, taking a job that has health insurance, especially if you or someone in your family has a preexisting condition can be a smart move.  There are many part time jobs that come with health insurance like working at Starbucks, driving a school bus, or serving as in aid in a public school.  Look at all your options.

 

COBRA Insurance Cost Reduction

Posted on: March 14th, 2012 by Cobra Insurance Guide

reduce cobra insurance costsLosing or quitting a job is extremely stressful.  For most people money is tight and they are worried about their financial future.  And then they find out how much COBRA insurance costs and in many cases begin to panic.  Rightfully so.  COBRA insurance costs over $1000 monthly for most families and after losing a job this is an expense that most people simply can’t afford.  Luckily there are many other options out there that can help with COBRA insurance cost reduction.

Before we look at ways to reduce the cost of COBRA insurance, let’s first look at why COBRA insurance is so expensive.  In any workplace there are people are varying ages with varying degrees of health needs.  There likely are people who need constant medical care and may have ongoing, serious medical needs, and people who are generally healthy and hardly ever use their health insurance plan.  A group health insurance plan at an employer has to cover all people which drives the costs up.  Since the health insurance plan inevitably will cover people with preexisting conditions or at risk for expensive and serious health conditions, the health insurance plan is expensive.  If you are generally healthy, likely there are much more affordable options out there for you and your family.  And even if you are not generally healthy, there still may be ways to reduce the cost of COBRA insurance.

1.  Consider COBRA Insurance Alternatives to Save Up to 65%

Many people think that private health insurance plans are extremely expensive due to the news and all the coverage about the outrageous expense of health insurance.  However, for people who are in generally good health, health insurance plans can be affordable and are almost always much cheaper than COBRA insurance.  The easiest way to learn what other health insurance options are out there is to get a free quote that will provide you with multiple options from multiple companies at all price points.  Exploring these plans gives you an idea of how much a private health insurance plan would cost and what it would include.  Most people find that they can get almost identical coverage for about 65% less (or over $600 less per month) by choosing a COBRA insurance alternative.

2.  Choose COBRA ONLY for Family Members with Preexisting Conditions or Serious Health Needs

Many times if someone in your family has a preexisting or serious medical condition, you automatically think that COBRA insurance is your only option.   You are partially right.  In most cases, COBRA insurance will be the most cost effective health insurance plan for the person with the preexisting condition since they likely won’t qualify for other health insurance plans.  However, that doesn’t mean that the whole family needs to sign up for COBRA insurance.  You can choose to only have the person with the preexisting condition on COBRA and sign everyone else up for a less expensive health insurance plan.  This is possible whether or not the person with the preexisting health condition is the former employee or not.  It is possible to just keep a spouse or child on COBRA and move the rest of the family to a new plan.

 

Alaska COBRA Insurance

Posted on: March 12th, 2012 by Cobra Insurance Guide

After you lose, quit, or retire from your job one of the first major decisions that you will need to make is about Alaska COBRA insurance.  Knowing your options and the difference between federal COBRA insurance, state sponsored COBRA insurance, and COBRA insurance alternatives is very important and can save you money as well as make sure you have the health coverage you desire.   Many people do not know that they have options and end up spending more money than they need to.

Option 1:  Federal COBRA Insurance, Monthly Average for family, $1,084

The federal COBRA insurance bill was passed in 1984 and allows people who recently quit, lost, or retired from their jobs to continue to use their employer sponsored health insurance plan for up to 18 months in most cases. This coverage was set up to protect people from suddenly being without health insurance and extended benefits to their family. Most people find they qualify for COBRA if they worked at a company with at least 20 employees on a health insurance plan and they did not lose their job due to gross misconduct like theft or sexual harassment. The major downfall of COBRA is that under the federal COBRA insurance laws, anyone signing up for COBRA insurance must pay for the entire premium plus a 2% administration fee. The employer no longer pays any part of the premium. The average cost of COBRA for a family of four is over $1000 monthly.

Option 2:  State Sponsored Alaska COBRA Insurance, Monthly Average for family, $1,084

The second option in most states for people who do not qualify for federal COBRA insurance is a state sponsored COBRA insurance plan. Many states created their own mini COBRA plans to help residents who worked at companies with between 2-19 employees and therefore didn’t qualify for federal COBRA coverage. Unfortunately there isn’t a mini COBRA plan in Alaska. This means that the only Alaska COBRA insurance available is the federal plan.

Option 3:  COBRA Insurance Alternatives, Monthly Average for family, $400

The final option for people who are considering Alaska COBRA insurance or who do not qualify for COBRA is a private insurance plan, normally known as individual or family plans. These private insurance plans can be much more affordable and offer similar coverage to COBRA insurance for individuals and families who are relatively healthy. In fact, most people save about $600 monthly by signing up for a private health insurance plan.

Likely you are wondering why private insurance is much more affordable than COBRA insurance. The fact is that employer sponsored health insurance plans must cover all people in the office, healthy or not healthy, at risk or not at risk. This drives up the cost for everyone. Since inevitably there will be people on the health insurance plan with major medical needs, the cost increases for everyone. When you sign up for a health insurance plan on your own, you only pay for you and your family. If you are relatively healthy then you can purchase a plan for much less since you aren’t paying for other people’s health needs.

To learn more about other health insurance plans, get a free quote for you or your family and begin exploring the plans available.

COBRA Insurance Laws

Posted on: March 12th, 2012 by Cobra Insurance Guide

COBRA Insurance and RetirementPeople have lots of questions about COBRA Insurance laws and how they impact their choices for health insurance after losing, quitting, or retiring from a job.  There are two types of COBRA Insurance laws that people are interested in.  First, people want to know about the actual federal COBRA insurance law that lays out eligibility and who can sign up for COBRA insurance.  Secondly, people want to learn about COBRA insurance laws regarding what employers must do.  We will cover both subjects in this blog posting.

First, let’s take a look at the COBRA insurance laws for eligibility that were laid out in the 1986 federal COBRA insurance law.  There are three basic categories laid out in the law that determine who is eligible for COBRA insurance – the type of employer sponsored health insurance plan, the event that caused someone to lose coverage, and the people who are eligible for COBRA coverage.

1.  Qualifying Plan: This term refers to the type of group health insurance plan your insurer had.  Under the COBRA insurance laws that plan must cover at least 20 employees, or their part time equivalents, for the employee or their family members to be eligible for COBRA insurance.

2.  Qualifying Event: This refers to how the employer sponsored group health insurance coverage was lost.  Many people think that you are only eligible for COBRA insurance if you are laid off, but in fact you are also eligible under the COBRA insurance laws if you quit your job or retire from your job.  Moreover, there are many events that can make family members eligible for COBRA insurance.  Some examples are divorce from the covered spouse (even if they continue working at the company), death of the covered spouse, and losing dependent child status.  The qualifying event is also an important piece of the law because it outlines the length of time that people are eligible.  The general rule of thumb is that COBRA insurance coverage lasts for 18 months but in some cases like divorce for example, benefits can be extended to 36 months in many cases.

3.  Qualifying Person:  The last piece of the federal COBRA insurance law refers to who is eligible to continue health insurance coverage with COBRA.  Basically what the law states is that anyone who was covered during employment can be covered with COBRA.  This generally includes the covered employee, spouse, and dependent children. For a retiree, this would include the retiree, retiree’s spouse, or retiree’s dependent children.

Now let’s take a look at the basic COBRA insurance laws for employers.

  • You must notify employees and spouses that would be covered through the COBRA program of their right to COBRA insurance coverage at the start of the health insurance plan.
  • You must notify employees and other covered beneficiaries within 14 days of the date that the covered individual(s) qualifies for COBRA insurance. The company is required by law to provide all the necessary forms and documents. Normally this should be through certified mail or in person with a signed form acknowledging they received it.
  • You must keep accurate records that you properly notified the employees of changes during the policy and at the time of COBRA qualification.
  • You must track COBRA election periods and the length of time that an employee has been enrolled in coverage under the law.
  • You must provide invoices to COBRA informing them of the premium payments and any short bill payments. These must be balanced and recorded.
  • You must keep all records of correspondence regarding COBRA coverage.
  • If your plan changes, you must notify COBRA, through the entire time of coverage.
  • You must notify the employee when insurance benefits terminate.

 

Alabama COBRA Insurance

Posted on: March 9th, 2012 by Cobra Insurance Guide

If you live in Alabama and are considering COBRA insurance, the first place you should always begin your search is with federal COBRA insurance policies.  Under the federal COBRA insurance law passed in 1986, people  who meet the federal COBRA insurance requirements can choose to continue to keep their employer’s sponsored health insurance plan.  That translates to the exact same doctors, prescriptions, co-payments, and deductibles that you had with your Alabama health insurance.  Alabama COBRA insurance gives you the option to keep identical insurance however you will have to pay the complete cost for the insurance, normally more than double what you are used to paying.

In many states if you do not qualify for federal COBRA insurance, there are state COBRA insurance plans that will help you to continue to keep your health insurance.  These plans, normally known as mini COBRA, are offered in many states for people who work at companies with between 2-19 employees and don’t qualify for federal COBRA.  Unfortunately in Alabama there are no mini COBRA plans which means that Alabama residents are only eligible for federal COBRA insurance.  Luckily though that isn’t the only health insurance option.

If you find that you do not qualify for COBRA insurance or simply find that COBRA insurance is too expensive, there are many options that you can explore.  The health insurance plan that most closely mirrors an employer sponsored health insurance plan are private insurance plans normally called individual or family plans.  For healthy families, these plans can be as affordable as $420 monthly, which is much cheaper than COBRA insurance.  For folks with preexisting conditions or serious medical needs, these plans may be much more expensive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

COBRA Insurance Alternatives

Posted on: March 7th, 2012 by Cobra Insurance Guide

Losing or quitting your job can be very stressful and on top of that, many people face making difficult decisions about health insurance. While the easiest option for many is to sign up for COBRA insurance if it is an option, upon deeper examination many people learn that COBRA insurance can be quite expensive and may in fact be out of reach for their family. Even if it is not out of reach, an average healthy family spends $8000 extra annually by choosing COBRA insurance. Understanding what other options are out there can help both individuals and families better understand the best choice for their health care and budgetary needs.

Option 1: Individual/Family Health Insurance Plan, Average Monthly Rate: $420
Individual health insurance plans, sometimes called family health insurance plans, are health insurance plans offered through major companies like Blue Cross and Kaiser, that are essentially the same as an employer provided health insurance plan. They are the most comprehensive plans on the market in most cases and can be surprisingly affordable for families and individuals, especially when there are no major health concerns. Many people wonder why these plans can be so much cheaper than COBRA and the reason is actually relatively simple. Under group health insurance plans at employers, the health insurance plan covers everyone employed, whether they are completely healthy, have major medical issues, or are at high risk for major medical health concerns. Due to this fact, group health insurance plans are more expensive because they cover both the healthy individual, who is relatively cheap to insure, and the not so healthy individuals, who are very expensive to insure. When you are relatively healthy, you can get a very good rate on health insurance because you are low risk to the insurance company. It is always worthwhile to get a quote for health insurance before choosing COBRA because many people find that they can save up to 65% monthly by choosing a private plan. You can get a quote below.

Option 2: Short Term or Catastrophic Insurance, Average Monthly Rate: $200
For people who know that they will be employed soon and have health insurance, or for people who only want minimal health insurance because they rarely go to the doctor, short term and catastrophic health insurance plans can be very inexpensive. These plans are normally minimal with high deductibles but they protect you in case anything major happens. Most people find these types of plans for under $200 monthly and sometimes as low as $75 if they are willing to have a high deductible.

Option 3: COBRA insurance, Average Monthly Rate: $1,084
Under COBRA insurance the average family pays around $1100 to keep the exact same coverage as they had with their employer. Many times for people with preexisting conditions or major medical needs, COBRA is the cheapest and best option, since health insurance is expensive and sometimes prohibitive for people with serious health needs. However, if you do not have serious health needs, another health insurance plan will likely be much more affordable and can still provide excellent coverage.

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