This Is What You Need to Know About
COBRA Health Insurance
In 2019 it's estimated that there were at least 26 million people that lacked insurance coverage in the United States. Job loss is one of the most common causes of coverage loss. Unfortunately, a lot of people don't know that they have options that can help keep them insured.
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (more commonly known as COBRA) was created to help people keep their health insurance. COBRA health insurance can be a literal lifeline for people with chronic conditions during times of crisis.
COBRA insurance is important, but there's a lot of people who don't understand it. We're going to take some time to cover some facts about COBRA's coverage that you may not know about. Keep reading; what you see here could end up saving you time, money, and stress in the future.
Job Loss Isn't the Only Route to COBRA Coverage
The vast majority of people learn about COBRA once they leave a job, experience a layoff, or get terminated. If you want to know how to get COBRA coverage, you should know that changes in your job aren't the only way to get it.
Employees that have experienced a reduction in hours that take away their full-time employee status can apply for COBRA coverage. It's also possible for widowers to receive COBRA coverage if they got their regular insurance through their deceased spouse.
Life events can also qualify you for COBRA coverage. Going through a divorce or aging out of your parent's insurance plan can make you eligible for COBRA.
Old Employers Can Affect COBRA Health Insurance
Your COBRA insurance request may have gotten approved, but things can still change down the line. If your previous employers makes certain changes you may lose your coverage.
Did your old employer go out of business, or drop their employee's health insurance plan altogether? Since there's no health plan to continue, COBRA laws no longer apply.
Did your previous employer reduce their staff to under 20 employees? Since your employer doesn't have the right amount of employees you're no longer eligible to receive coverage.
It's important to note that if you run into these issues that you still have options. If you're concerned about losing coverage, reach out to a COBRA representative to see what your options are.
You're Responsible for All Premiums Under COBRA
Many people wonder why COBRA is so expensive. After all, you're most likely getting the policy under hardship, so how can the coverage that used to cost you a few dollars balloon to several hundred?
You may not know this, but employers take on a lot of costs when they provide health insurance. They don't just pay for the policy itself. They also cover a percentage of health insurance premiums. On average most cover 50%, but some may choose to cover more.
If you get COBRA insurance, you'll be responsible for paying the total cost of your premiums along with a 2% administrative fee. This can be extremely costly even if you end up not seeing a doctor or needing prescriptions.
Some States Have Their Own COBRA Laws
Did you work at a small company that has less than 20 employees? Your employer isn't required to give you COBRA coverage under federal law. Fortunately, your state's laws may be able to help you out.
Many states have laws that protect employees from very small businesses. Before you decide that you aren't eligible, speak with someone at your state's health and human services department to see what your options are.
Moving Affects Coverage
If you lost your job in California and decide to move to Nevada or a different state to job search, you may experience a lapse in your COBRA coverage.
Remember, COBRA isn't a different health plan. It's a continuation of the coverage you had before. Since most insurance plans want you to work with in-network doctors moving removes you from the primary network.
It's also important to note that even though your employer may be obligated to give you COBRA coverage, they aren't required to give you coverage where you decide to move.
Open Enrollment Still Matters
If you happen to get COBRA during your employer's open enrollment period, you should know that you still have the right to switch plans.
This is an important rule to know if you have a family. You can utilize the open enrollment period to get a plan for a new spouse, child, or dependent.
People that have babies under COBRA coverage should know that they have the option to enroll babies at any time. As long as you enroll babies within 30 days of their birth they're entitled to coverage.
COBRA Isn't Your Only Option
COBRA can help you in a tough situation, but it isn't the right plan for everyone. Luckily, if you recently lost your insurance coverage you may have other options available.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) can give you a short term insurance policy, or give you the option to get a long term policy for you and your family. The ACA also gives lower-income families subsidies to make coverage more affordable.
There are definite pros and cons to each coverage option. That's why we encourage people to take the time to carefully research both.
If you think that you'll have coverage again in the near future, a COBRA plan can help keep you covered until then. People that are unsure of when they'll get coverage again should consider a longer-term plan through the ACA.
Live Well With or Without Insurance
Losing health insurance coverage can be scary. That's why it's so important to understand how COBRA health insurance can help you during your time of need.
Insurance can play an important role in keeping your health, but there's still plenty you and your family can do to stay healthy.
Do you want to learn more about nutrition and exercise? Are you curious about how other insurance policies can help you? Make sure you browse our posts so you can find content that can teach you what you want to know.