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Can I Continue to See Specialists with COBRA Insurance?

Posted on: April 15th, 2011 by Cobra Insurance Guide

Nurse and PatientSince COBRA insurance is a continuation of your previous health insurance plan, under the COBRA insurance laws you will be able to continue to see the same doctors and specialists as you previously had at the same expense.  This means that any doctor that you were previously covered to see with your health insurance plan will still be covered.

But what if it is a new specialist?  That is fine as long as the new specialist would be covered under the medical insurance you have at your prior employer.  The plan continues exactly as it had before so the costs incurred are the same.  If you would have been charged under your previous plan, you will be charged under COBRA health insurance.  If you would have been covered, you still will.  Check to make sure the specialist is within your care network with your insurance provider and inquire with the insurance company to determine costs for anyone outside of the network.  The cost will be in line with your previous health insurance plan and their charges for outside of the network coverage.

Four More Common COBRA Health Insurance Problems and Solutions

Posted on: April 12th, 2011 by Cobra Insurance Guide

Stethoscope and PenCOBRA Insurance can be a tricky process and you may run into problems and questions throughout your time enrolling or being covered under COBRA medical insurance continuation.  Here are three common problems and their solutions so you know what to do if you experience this (although hopefully you won’t).

  1. The insurance company says they never received your payments even though you paid them: First you should reach out to the health insurance provider and see if they can remedy the problem.  If they cannot, you should then contact the Department of Labor, who oversees COBRA laws, at (866) 444-EBSA begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (866) 444-EBSA end_of_the_skype_highlighting and inform them about what has occurred.  They will help you to investigate what has happened and find a remedy.
  2. Your doctor says that you do not have coverage even though you signed up for COBRA insurance: Call your health insurance company immediately to find out what is happening.  If you have just enrolled in COBRA insurance there likely could be a lapse in the processing of the paperwork.  If you have been signed up for COBRA insurance for a substantial time period, likely there is a kink in the system and your health insurance provider can quickly let your doctor know you are in fact insured for the visit.
  3. Your former employer signs up for a new health insurance plan but didn’t tell you: Your previous employer should have informed you that the switch was occurring.  Contact the health insurance contact at your place of employment to find out the details of the new plan.  You will be eligible for the open enrollment window just like anyone still employed within the company and able to receive the same benefits with the new plan.  It is important to know that there likely will be a change in your premium cost if this happens.
  4. You got a new job – yeah! But your health insurance doesn’t start for 3 months: Keep COBRA health insurance until your new job begins.  This will keep you and your family protected until the new plan kicks in and will also protect you from being excluded (under HIPAA) due to any pre-existing conditions.

Three Common COBRA Medical Insurance Problems and What To Do About It

Posted on: April 11th, 2011 by Cobra Insurance Guide

Woman reading paperWe all wish that signing up for COBRA insurance was smooth sailing, but sometimes we encounter problems along the way.  Learn how to deal with three common COBRA Insurance problems if you happen to run into them.

  1. You never received your COBRA medical insurance enrollment package from your employer: Your former employer and health insurance provider have 30 days in which to notify you and provide you with an enrollment package.  If it has only been a couple of days, wait it out.  If a couple of weeks have passed, reach out to your employer and health insurance provider and assume the best.  Check with your former employer as well as your health insurance provider to make sure that they have your current mailing address and information.   If the 30 days have passed, immediately contact the Department of Labor.  You may have cause for litigation since it is required by law that they provide this enrollment form.
  2. Your former employer goes out of business and cancels their group health insurance plan: Unfortunately in this situation, under the current COBRA medical insurance law, you are no longer eligible to receive continued health insurance coverage with COBRA.  Begin to look for alternative medical insurance plans and explore all of your options.
  3. Your COBRA medical insurance premium increased dramatically but no one ever told you: Unfortunately you are subject to any increases in costs that any employer still working with the company would experience.  There are no measures in the COBRA insurance law that requires that your costs do not change in line with any other group health insurance cost increases.  It is common courtesy for them to inform you, but even if they do not you will have to pay the increased COBRA insurance premium or find alternative health insurance if you can not afford it.

Steps to Take When You Lose Your Job and Consider Signing Up For COBRA

Posted on: April 10th, 2011 by Cobra Insurance Guide

Medical InvoiceLosing your job can be incredibly stressful, as can be the looming costs of signing up to continue health insurance coverage under COBRA insurance which can be incredibly expensive, running many families upwards of $1,000/month.  So what do you do if you lose your job and are getting ready to enroll in the costly COBRA insurance continuation plan?

  1. Reduce Costs: When you lose your job, one of the most important things to do whether or not you elect to sign up for COBRA insurance is to reduce costs.  Think about where you can cut back  – eating out less, shopping less, buying generic products, traveling less, reducing utility bills, and more – examine your budget closely and find ways to cut costs.  This will be important not only because you will have less income coming in but also because you will soon be facing an expensive COBRA insurance premium bill to keep your health insurance.
  2. Explore Other Options: COBRA insurance is not the only health insurance option out there.  There are many alternative health insurance plans that may offer less expensive health insurance plans.  You should consider individual health insurance plans, private family health insurance, catastrophic insurance, short term health insurance, and high deductible health insurance.  Explore each option carefully and compare it to COBRA.  Consider your age, health, and any pre-existing conditions or ongoing medical needs.
  3. Check out Governmental Insurance Programs: The state and federal government offer many insurance plans that can benefit adults, seniors, and children who are under a specific income level.  Check out both federal and state run insurance programs to find out who in your family can qualify.  In many states, you will find that your children can qualify for state run medical insurance plans that will dramatically cut your expenses.
  4. Consider a Spouse’s Insurance Plan: Have you thought about your spouse’s health insurance options?  You may have previously had your family covered under your plan because it was better or less expensive, but now it is time to look into your spouse’s options.  Explore the costs and enrollment time and requirements for your spouse’s insurance.  Likely it will be less expensive to add people to their plan than continue insurance under COBRA long term or find a new plan.
  5. File for Disability Immediately if it is an Option: If you are losing your job due to a disability, you should immediately file for Social Security and disability.  This will help you to get through tough times and many times help to cover insurance plans.  If you are not sure if you are eligible under Social Security or Disability law, check with the Department of Labor to learn more.

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