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When should you elect COBRA Insurance?

COBRA is great if you have pre-existing conditions, see doctors often or take prescription medication.

Health Insurance Alternatives

When continuing your former work health insurance is not available or is cost-prohibitive, many people will choose Short Term Medical or Accident Only coverage as alternatives to COBRA to remain insured.

Employers Must Offer COBRA

The COBRA Act of 1985 is a federal law that allows workers and their families the right to keep their employer’s health insurance if that insurance would end due to job loss or changes within the covered beneficiary’s family. With COBRA, you may continue your traditional major medical plan and keep the same doctors and clinics.

It is mandatory for companies with 20 or more full-time employees to make available their health plans for former workers to continue coverage on.

curly haired man thinking about insurance

COBRA Eligibility

When To Choose COBRA For Health Insurance

  • Have had comprehensive benefits and don’t mind paying a higher premium.
  • Want continual, guaranteed coverage at a higher cost.
  • Have had recent health problems.
  • Have had ongoing health problems.
  • Are taking expensive medications.
  • Have been declined for private insurance recently.
  • Have a history of medical problems.
  • Have had an accident within the 60 day window of enrollment.
  • Are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
  • Got a job and your new employer does not offer a health plan.

When To Choose A COBRA Alternative

  • COBRA is unavilable or too expensive.
  • To cover a short gap until your next major medical plan.
  • Have no pre-existing conditions.
  • Want continual coverage at a lower cost.
  • Have had no health problems.
  • Have not received any advice from medical professionals advising you to undergo a medical procedure in the future.
  • You are not pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant soon.
Man considering buying short-term medical insurance


COBRA Is Expensive

The out-of-pocket cost for COBRA insurance is roughly $400 – 800/month, per person to continue on the employer’s group health plan. If you are looking to save money, consider a temporary health plan.

COBRA or Marketplace Health Insurance?

If you need Obamacare style of insurance that covers preexisting conditions and prescription medication, choosing COBRA will give you that. With COBRA, the deductibles you’ve paid in won’t change.

Losing your employer’s health insurance is a qualifying event. If you are looking for a new major medical plan, you may find marketplace plans on or off the health insurance exchanges.

Short Term Medical Insurance

An alternative to continuing on COBRA is a temporary short-term health insurance plan. This type of insurance can fill gaps until your next major medical plan begins.

Short-Term Health Insurance plans  provide a high level of care for new illnesses and accidents and flexible in term length. This type of insurance does not cover pre-existing conditions.

Who Is Entitled To COBRA Benefits?

Any employee that has been enrolled in a company’s group health plan for 1 day qualifies for COBRA benefits. When an employee signs up for workplace insurance, you must notify them of their COBRA rights to continue on that health plan if that insurance would end. Additionally, the option must be available to all qualified beneficiaries of the plan.

A qualified beneficiary is a health insurance plan dependent, such as spouses and children. As an example, if the covered employee dies, the spouse and other covered dependents shall be given the option to continue the same health insurance they had.

Health Care Sharing Ministry Plans Are Not Insurance

The affordability of health care sharing plans (HCSPs) quite often overshadows their downsides. First, these plans are not insurance. They are not regulated by any states.

Your monthly payment goes into an escrow account for all members. You request reimbursement for medical expenses.

Second, you need to read the fine print. Your claims for reimbursement may be denied based on the sharing group’s value system. If an injury occurs while you are drinking at a bar, some plans won’t pay out. Most of them will not treat new STDs for members that are not married.

It’s important for you to know that these are not federal Healthcare Marketplace approved plans. They are not recommended as an alternative to COBRA to cover lapses in insurance coverage.

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