Comprehensive COBRA Insurance Information

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Find Your Own Health Insurance

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

For anyone who is unemployed, self employed, or works somewhere that doesn’t offer medical insurance, finding your own health insurance can be an extremely daunting task. There are hundreds of companies offering plans of all different types at all different price ranges. How do you choose a plan that is right for you and what options do you have? Use these resources to help you find a health insurance plan that is right for you.

  1. Government Uninsured Help Line: The Foundation for Health Coverage Education created this free helpline to aid people who are looking for health isnurance and want to know what options they have. Make sure you have information available about your income, number of family members, ages, and health conditions ready so they can provide you with all of your options. You can call them at 800-234-1317 or visit their website at Coverage For All
  2. Government Healthcare Website: To help people navigate the difficult web of health insurance options, the government created a website, HealthCare.gov, that helps connect people with private insurance companies and governmental insurance options. By entering information about where you live, your health conditions, family members, ages, and income, the site gives you a number of options for health insurance in your area.
  3. COBRA Insurance: If you lost, quit, or retired from your job in the last 60 days you are probably eligible for COBRA health insurance. With COBRA you can keep the health insurance plan you had with your employer for up to 18 months in most cases. In addition, many states offer state run COBRA insurance if you don’t qualify for the federal plan.
  4. Free Health Insurance Quotes: Similar to the government website, you can also get free quotes through a private health insurance company to learn about your options. Sometimes these sites are more up to date than the government sites and offer more accurate prices.
  5. Preexisting Condition Insurance Plans: If you have a preexisting condition and have difficult qualifying for health insurance, you may be able to sign up for a PCIP, or preexisting condition plan. These plans cover people who have preexisting conditions and can’t find health insurance.

Lost Your Job? Are You Considering COBRA Insurance?

Posted on: May 24th, 2012 by Cobra Insurance Guide

Stethoscope and Pen

For people who lost their job or were laid off, COBRA insurance is usually an option to continue health care for the employee and their family.

In most cases if your former health insurance plan covered 20 employees or more and the company is still in business, you can qualify for COBRA insurance under the 1986 federal law. This coverage lasts for 18 months in most cases and came about to protect people in your situation from suddenly going without health insurance coverage.

According to the federal COBRA law, when you are laid off your employer has 14 days to notify you in writing about your rights under COBRA. From there, you have 60 days to decide if you want to enroll in the coverage. If you do not sign up within that 60 day period or pay the premium, you will lose the right to coverage.

COBRA Insurance and Health Reform

In March of 2012, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was passed by Congress to help ensure that more Americans have access to affordable health insurance and ensure people can actually get coverage. Under this law in 2014 there will be state run health insurance exchanges that people can use to purchase affordable health care. This law will not change COBRA insurance coverage in anyway, but it will likely decrease the amount of people who choose to use COBRA insurance.

The Cost of COBRA Insurance

With COBRA you get the exact same coverage that you had with your employer but the main difference is that you are responsible for paying the entire premium plus a 2% administration fee. This cost for most people is very expensive and normally runs over $1000/month for families. This is because most employers pay for up to 90% of the health insurance costs of their employees.

What Can I Do if COBRA Insurance is Too Expensive?

Most people can’t afford COBRA insurance. It is very expensive and most people who need it just got laid off so that kind of expense is unimaginable. According to some statistics COBRA insurance can eat up 60-70% of someone’s unemployment check leaving almost no room for other expenses. However luckily there are other options to explore if you can’t afford COBRA insurance. If you can’t afford COBRA insurance you should explore state and federal insurance programs like Medicaid and CHIP, private insurance which is normally much less expensive (you can get a quote below), and community health programs that provide free and reduced cost care.

Free or Low Cost Health Insurance Options

Posted on: May 22nd, 2012 by Cobra Insurance Guide

For many people it may seem like health insurance is just too expensive and there are no affordable options for low cost or even free health insurance. However with some digging many people can find options that are less expensive than COBRA insurance and meet their healthcare needs. Explore the following options to look for affordable health insurance.

Option 1: Private Health Insurance Plans

Many people believe that private health insurance is never affordable but depending on your health needs, it may be a good option. If you are generally healthy and do not go to the doctor frequently you can likely find a policy that is affordable. Many people find plans that are less than $100 a month if they are willing to accept a high deductible.

Option 2: Medicaid

Medicaid is a free or low cost health insurance program that is designated for people under a certain income level. The specific income level varies from state to state, but if you qualify then you can qualify for free or very low cost care. You can visit Medicaid.gov to learn more about Medicaid options in your state.

Option 3: Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

The CHIP Program, of Children’s Health Insurance Program, is a program for children whose families do not qualify for Medicaid but can not afford health insurance coverage. Under CHIP, children are able to get free or very low cost health insurance and health care. To learn more about CHIP in your state visit InsureKidsNow.gov.

Option 4: Community Health Care Centers

Community health centers are non profit health care centers that provide free or very low cost care to people in the community. Anyone may go to a community health care center whether they have health insurance or not and receive care.

PCIP Preexisting Condition Insurance Plan

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

The Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010 and this law created Preexisting Condition Insurance Plans which helps people get health insurance who have been denied coverage based on a preexisting condition.

PCIPs are administered by your state government or the federal government through the Health and Human Services Department. It is meant to be an interim health insurance option for people who have been without insurance for 6 months, have been denied coverage, or have a preexisting condition. In 2014 with the passing of the Affordable Care Act, everyone will have access to health insurance and PCIP plans will no longer be needed. However in the mean time they provide health insurance to people who otherwise would be uninsured.

Preexisting Condition Insurance Plans

A PCIP plan will cover most things a regular health insurance plan would cover including doctor visits, hospital visits, prescription drugs, and more. Your preexisting condition will not be denied treatment with the covered. Additionally, PCIP plans shouldn’t charge you a higher premium due to the condition.

Eligibility for PCIP Insurance

  • Are a US citizen, national, or reside in the US legally
  • Have been without health insurance for six or more months
  • Are not currently insured even if your plan doesn’t cover your condition and are not in a state high risk pool
  • Have a preexisting condition or have been denied health insurance due to your condition

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