If you’re like most people, health insurance is most likely one of the reasons you’re sticking with your present job. But what happens when you get fired? Get downsized? Or actually drum up enough courage to quit?
Going without health insurance is a bad thing, even if you do it only for a day. That’s the reason you should know your COBRA options even before you cease ties with your employer.
But wait! What is COBRA?
Believe it or not, it’s not the snake. It’s a piece of legislation that allows former employees, retired personnel, their spouses, their former spouses, or their dependent kids to continue enjoying health coverage at group rates temporarily. The operative word here is temporarily because COBRA carries several restrictions. Nevertheless, it remains an excellent option. Here are a few reasons why.
- Cost. Insurance, health and finances are three things that get threatened when you lose your job. At least with COBRA, you can extend coverage from your former employer’s group health insurance plan for up to 18 months. Although you are to pay 102% of premiums, COBRA saves you dollars in healthcare costs while you find a less expensive provider or get another employer-sponsored coverage.
- Pre-existing condition. COBRA effectively reduces or eliminates the time you risk a new insurer excluding a pre-existing health condition. This is a no-brainer. If you are already sick, no private insurer would touch you. Going without health insurance is the worst thing that can happen to someone who needs treatment and needs it badly.
- Flexibility. When leaving an employer for one reason or another, your primary concern with respect to insurance coverage is cost. Insurance, health, and finances are tough issues to deal with minus a regular paycheck. COBRA allows you 105 days to pay the first premium but coverage begins from the day your group coverage ends. That leaves you with enough time to look for a job and a new, less expensive insurer without risking your wallet even more.
COBRA is intended to protect you and your family from sustaining more financial losses during a tough time. Take advantage of this federal law and never go without health insurance coverage.