Cobra Remains: Compare Health Insurance Bill

cobraAmericans who were worried about the recent health care reform bill eliminating Cobra coverage can rest assured that will not happen, according to The New York Times article “Health Law Preserves Cobra Plan” by Walecia Konrad.  The government-mandated Cobra program is meant to bridge insurance you have lost with new insurance coverage.  Compare health insurance under Cobra and it basically continues insurance coverage from a job you were either laid off from or left to find another job.  Cobra lasts for 18 months and you have to pay the premiums your old employer was paying for you as well as what you were previously paying in most cases.  The health care reform bill that just passed basically makes no changes to Cobra, but for people that couldn’t afford Cobra or had yet to find another job after the 18 month coverage expired, some other aspects of the new law should help them.

A government subsidy covering 65% of laid-off workers’ Cobra coverage  expired at the end of March which puts many unemployed families in a predicament where they will go from paying around $385/month to $1,100/month for their coverage.  For families like that who may no longer be able to afford Cobra coverage and those whose Cobra has expired, they have to look into the independent insurance market at companies like Assurant Health for coverage.  Anyone who was previously insured under Cobra cannot be denied coverage by individual insurance companies based on a preexisting condition, so make sure to shop around well before your 18 months expires to find health coverage.  Some other options to look into if you are uninsured are getting onto your parents insurance up to age 26 and obtaining coverage under the new state run high-risk insurance pools.  But even without a subsidy, Cobra may be the best way to continue your previous insurance after a job loss.

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