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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.

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.


When To Consider COBRA Health Insurance Alternatives

Posted on: August 9th, 2011 by Cobra Insurance Guide

COBRA insurance is a great health care option for many, however it definitely isn’t always the most affordable or most strategic choice depending on your circumstances.  The following list outlines some reasons you may not want to sign up for COBRA insurance.

1.  You are in good health:  If you are in good health, you may be able to find a less costly health insurance alternative to COBRA without losing too much coverage.  Explore alternative plans and research different insurance options if you are relatively young and in good health.

2.  You are on a tight budget:  The fact is that COBRA insurance is very expensive for most families to keep and it is like there are more cost effective insurance plans out there.  Explore other options if you are on a tight budget.  You may have to accept a more strict health insurance plan but can save lots of money.

3.  You qualify for state or federal health insurance:  Always make sure to check to see if you qualify for any state or federal health insurance plans before enrolling in COBRA.  This could include plans for children and/or governmental health insurance plans for veterans and others.  These plans will be much more cost effective.

4.  You qualify for Medicare:  If you can sign up for Medicare, it is a much cheaper option to COBRA health insurance.  You can still sign up for COBRA insurance to be  a secondary plan but it will come at a high cost.

5.  You believe you will have another job with insurance soon:  If you believe you will be employed soon, especially within 60 days, you may be able to wait.  COBRA insurance can be retro-activated 60 days past the last day of your coverage, which means if you have any medical emergencies during that time, you can just sign up for COBRA and be covered.


Medicare and COBRA Insurance

Posted on: April 17th, 2011 by Cobra Insurance Guide

Man writingMany people have lots of questions about COBRA insurance, specifically for their spouses and dependents, if they find themselves eligible for Medicare due to disability or other causes.  It is important to know what COBRA health insurance coverage your family will be able to maintain if you begin to qualify under Medicare and honestly it depends on your situation.

If the COBRA insurance that you are currently enrolled in is because of your previous employer and you become qualified for Medicare, this is considered a second qualifying event under the federal COBRA insurance law.  This means that you spouse and any dependents are now eligible for an additional 7 months of coverage under the COBRA medical insurance laws.

However, if you were a dependent or spouse, who is now qualified  for Medicare, the COBRA insurance continuation of health insurance will end at the length of the initial term and you will no longer be able to receive health insurance under COBRA.

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